In the movie “Dances with Wolves”, communication was both a barrier and a bridge for John Dunbar a white man of great standing in the white community, and also for the Sioux Indian’s who were misunderstood and stereotype often. They relied on multiple forms of communication to break down the barriers that stood between them, and create some bridges toward becoming friends.
Stereotyping on both sides was a huge barrier as well as the bridge between John and the Sioux. If it had not been for the stereotyping between them there would have been no interest in trying to understand each other. John comes in connect with stereotyping on his way to the soldier fort, where he is told by the driver that Indians are “nothing more than beggars and thieves” (Dances with Wolves, Costner, 1990). This stereotype of Indian’s lead John to start preparing his post in case of a fight regardless of the true understanding of the threats. The Sioux Indians had stereotypes of their own towards the white man, they believed all white man to be “without values and souls”, (Dances with Wolves, Costner, 1990) and that all white man where also “selfish takers, who took what they wanted and abused it”, (Dances with Wolves, Costner, 1990). This stereotype of white man and the Sioux, lead to a first interaction between John and the Sioux making it a hostile one. The Sioux where concerned about the reasons that John was there and how many more where coming to join him. John on the other hand was concerned about his safety and the fact that he was out there alone. The first real interaction between John and the Sioux was met with no understanding of one another’s language and ended with a lot of physical gestures and intimidation from the Sioux toward John in order to get him to leave. The first sign of a bridge between John and the Sioux is seen when Stands with Fists is injured. John despite the risk to his own safety shows empathy towards Stands with Fists by taking her back to the...
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