-1Heather Sipes STD 120 7/13/2010 Non-Verbal Paper – Cast Away What we communicate linguistically only makes up 7% of what we are actually saying; non-verbal communication makes up the other 93%. The message is expressed primarily through non-verbal communication, (NVC). In communication with people close to us, our NVC can hold more emphasis than the verbal. NVC is communicated through ten primary channels and are often unconscious, multi-channeled, and continuous. The ten primary channels consist of: facial displays, eye behaviors, movements and gestures, touch, vocal, smell, space, physical appearance, time, and artifacts.
Cast Away is a movie about a man, Chuck Noland, who is obsessed with time. His whole demeanor throughout the beginning sections of the movie advocate that his life is ruled by the clock. As he gives a speech to employees in a foreign country his non-verbal communication reveals his message, the interpreter translates the verbal, but each channel of non-verbal forcefully conveys it. He is a collected, powerful man who is passionate about his work and the ideals that exist within that. When Chuck is washed up onto an island, his concept of living, along with his watch, are flooded.
He isn’t communicating directly with anyone, but his NVC is displaying his emotions to those watching the movie. He doesn’t have to say, “I am scared. ” his facial displays, eye behavior, and gestures convey the message properly. Sequentially through the movie his NVC is almost the only means of communication. One of the ten channels of NVC is facial displays; the face communicates more information than any other channel. When his plane crashes and his seclusion begins, his life boat washes ashore. His face is contorted, mouth open, and his forehead scrunched. He is in disbelief, or shock at what is happening.
Within minutes his forehead becomes more distressed and his eye behavior becomes erratic; he begins to soothe himself by “self touching. ” He rubs his fingers against each other; he is moving from shock closer to fear. Instinctually, he picks up the packages and drudges around in a daze. He vocally calls out “Hello. ” The word is not as important as the vocal behavior; he is inherently calling out to no one. His tone and inflection seem hesitant at first, but quickly he emphasizes the articulation and meter, suggesting irritation in his tone. Throughout the movie, the channels of NVC convey to the watcher how Chuck is adapting, i. . , how much time has passed, his personal journey, and his change in ideals, etc. When he gets on the plane, his clothes are fitted, he is wearing long pants, socks, shoes, an undershirt, a button up dress shirt, and a sweater. His hair is short and facial hair nearly non-existent. After he crashes he is soaked, weighted down, his sweater is stretched, pants are hanging past his feet, he has lost his shoes and only has one sock. Quickly, he adapts to his environment; his pants get shorter, his shirt comes off, he commandeers shoes and alters them for his benefit.
His hair begins to get longer, which is very evident in his facial hair, and his skin starts to show sun spots and become tan. As four years pass he is wearing nearly nothing, his hair is savage like, long, untrimmed, and not maintained. His skin is so tanned he appears leathery, and he has lost so much weight his skin hangs off of his bones. His appearance, and artifacts help distinguish time, and how he has adapted and learned to survive over it. The way he moves and gestures as he learns to develop his survival skills display many different emotions and events that guide him.
When he begins each obstacle he is very frustrated but determined. As he tries to break the coconut he is flailing about, desperately trying to grasp a workable concept. Same with when he tries to make fire, and catch fish. As he gets closer to an answer he becomes more focused and excited. He gasps for breath, his mouth forms closer to a smile than a frown. His posture becomes straighter with a rigid determination. His communication with ‘Wilson’ evolves overtime to shows how he learned to meet his need for interaction. In the beginning he is hesitant to talk to he volleyball. His voice catches, his body is curiously stiff and scared. His eyes display a fear that he is going crazy. Overtime he openly communicates with Wilson, liking him to a best friend. He begins discussion day to day activities, plans, strategies, Wilson becomes his right hand man. Even as he forges out to sea Wilson is with him. He vocally communicates with Wilson and non verbally communicates to the viewing audience the relationship he has formed with Wilson. His inflection in his voice, his pitch, and tone go from hesitant to comfortable.
His gestures begin in the direction of Wilson, and evolve into gestures to Wilson. He begins to touch Wilson with an affectionate, care-giving touch. Finally, his connection between time and artifacts changes overtime. When he drifted ashore, he began to collect packages because it was important to him. It was instinct to give the packages significance because it was such a large part of his ideals. As time passed he opened the packages to use the things in them, he opened all the packages but one. He kept one package sealed to hold onto hope and his ideals.
To conclude the movie he displays that even throughout the self discovery and forced transformation he held onto something. The movie Cast Away is an ideal representation of how important non-verbal communication is. For a good portion of the movie Chuck does not speak, everything the audience gathers from him is displayed through his non verbal channels. One can still pick up when he is angry, scared, happy, excited, or mad. This is not done by his interaction and conversations with others, but by means such as his face, eyes, gestures, and voice.