“One thing we can be sure of is that conflict is unavoidable. Conflicts are happening all around the world, as they always have, and at many different levels” (Martin and Nakayama, 2011, pg. 224). Conflicts are not only seclusive to differing cultures, but can often occur within similar cultures as well. For this week’s writing assigment we were asked to watch the film Gran Torino, starring Clint Eastwood, and reflect on the conflicts and popular cultures within the story line.
1. Walt Kowalski has an underlying cultural conflict residing in within himself. The life he once lived as a soldier conflicts with his desired culture of living a pleasant life. His combat past haunts him and keeps him from pursuing a peaceful life.
In the film, Walter speaks to Father Janovich and says, “The thing that haunts a guy is the stuff he wasn 't ordered to do.” Within these few small words, Walt describes to Father Janovich the chaotic mindset that keeps his life forever haunted. His former culture, in turn, has kept him from progressing into a more desired culture. (Eastwood, 2008)
I would describe this type of conflict as intrapersonal because it deals solely with one person. People are capable of being at war with themselves and I feel that Walt’s character very much is.
2. Throughout the film, gangs are presented. Each gang (or culture) feels they are superior to others and bully and/or violently threaten the lives of others in order to affirm their dominance within the city.
In one specific scene Thao Vang Lor is walking home. While on foot, a car full of Hispanic gang members pull aside Thao and begin to hassle him. Thao’s cousin, Spider, catches a glimpse of this from around the corner and immediately rides in to defend him. As a member of the Hmong gang, Spider and his fellow car-mates begin to quarrel with the Hispanic gang members. After many foul words are exchanged, the two gangs present weapons
References: Gran Torino. Dir. Clint Eastwood. Perf. Clint Eastwood. Prods. Clint Eastwood, Bill Gerber and Robert Lorenz. 2008. Martin, Judith N. and Thomas K. Nakayama. Experiencing Intercultural Communication. 4th. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.