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The Village, by M. Night Shyamalen Essay

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Matthew Lesko once said, “A degree of lying seems to be inherent in all languages and all forms of communication.” Quite often lies are integrated into society in order to manipulate the minds of the receiver(s) and ultimately shape the community in a particular way. The Village a 2004 by M. Night Shyamalen is indicative of this fact. A culture (even one based on fear) can flourish through use of ritual communication.
First off to fully grasp the significance of ritual communication behind the movie, The Village one must first understand what exactly it is. Ritual communication is defined as, “A symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed.” (Carey, 1989) The method is dependent on mass forms of communication throughout a society and how these symbols are interpreted by the people. It is, in short, the fundamentals of not only constructing a society but of its preservation. Shyamalen’s The Village is an exceptional example of the power of this approach to communication.
The movie takes place in late 19th century in an isolated village called, “Covington Woods.” The settlement was created by a group of people (known as the Elders) that had lost loved ones in the city and sought to create their own form of a community. In retrospect they had hoped to create a sort of Utopia that was free from the filth of modern society. In the beginning the Elders produced their own sort of reality by founding a village that resembled all that they wanted it to be; clean, crimeless, and innocent. Naturally human minds are filled with curiosity and in time they would roam to places beyond - the younger generations would yearn for more than the village had to offer. Keeping this in mind the Elders formulat...


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... this purity as the reason behind its survival. On the other hand we must look into other examples, such as Hitler’s success via similar methods. He used fear and other means to control and manipulate people in quite another manner. The German people were so embedded in the preservation of their way of life that they allowed themselves to look past such atrocities such as genocide. When a person in power has the correct tools to effectively use ritual communication the society is at the mercy of that person.
Ritual communication is an imperative part of life, it is important to the creation and maintenance of society as a whole. But it is vital that people realize the influence that communication has on shaping us and the world around us. If we can understand it and recognize it in action then it goes without saying that we can fight it when it is misused.




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