Interpersonal communication skills are essential in everyday human life. To safely communicate with another person, it is not enough to choose a convenient time and place. It is also necessary to build behavior so as not to cause an adverse reaction from the interlocutor. The topic of this essay is the relationship between the Emperor’s new groove’s main characters who, by the will of fate, found themselves together on a dangerous and fascinating journey. Their relationships have undergone intense changes if the beginning of the adventure and its end are compared, and, therefore, it is exciting to analyze them.
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One of the main characters is Kuzco, a young but selfish and narcissistic emperor of the Incas (Emperor’s New Groove HD). One day, he invites the village headman, Pacha, to his palace and informs him that he wants to demolish his native village to build a water park. Meanwhile, Yzma, a former adviser to the emperor, wants revenge on him for firing her. The woman aspires to become an empress herself and plans to poison Kuzco at dinner. However, her assistant, Kronk, confuses the poisons, and the emperor does not die but turns into a llama. Instead of getting rid of the llama, Kronk hurriedly drops the body bag into Pacha’s cart.
When Kuzco comes to his senses and realizes what happened, he blames Pacha for turning into a lama. Kuzco orders his new companion to take him back to the palace, as he thinks that Yzma will help him. As a result of their journey, Kuzco realizes who is guilty of what happened, asks for forgiveness from Pacha, and then they go to Yzma’s secret basement. After that, the emperor becomes a human again, cancels the building of a water park, establishes a friendship with Pacha, and sends Yzma to community service.
It is worth starting with the definition of interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication is a complex process of interaction between one individual and another, during which information is exchanged. The main goal of interpersonal communication is the development of contacts and relationships between individuals. The relationship between the cartoon’s main characters is complicated from the very beginning since the characters are of entirely different social statuses. Several patterns of interpersonal communication can be identified and analyzed between the main characters.
Initially, Kuzco does not respect Pacha, rudely interrupts him, not even wanting to listen to his words, so their interpersonal communication can be described as primitive. It can also be said that the concept of gender did not play any role in Kuzco’s attitude to Pacha since he treated women as disrespectfully as he treated men. In turn, Pacha initially treated Kuzco with respect, not because of his personality or actions but because Kuzco was the emperor. Therefore, from the point of view of Patch, their communication can initially be called functional role-playing. At the beginning of the story, Kuzco had deficient listening skills, not wanting to take into account, for example, Yzma’s anger or Pacha’s despair.
There were constant arguments between Kuzco and Pacha, one of the types of verbal communication, especially in the first half of the cartoon. The characters were arguing when Kuzco woke up and firmly decided that Pacha turned him into a lama. As a sign of disdain for Pacha’s words, Kuzco often rolled his eyes or even showed his tongue, a mimicry, and one of the types of non-verbal communication. In addition, there was a constant exchange of various messages between the main characters. Kuzco gave Pacha motivational messages when he ordered him to be taken to the palace. Pacha, telling Kuzco about his village and its beautiful views, gave him informative messages. Furthermore, a great emphasis in the cartoon is placed on sensory perception, the perception of the interlocutor from the point of view of the senses (smells, tastes). Thus, many details make the interpersonal communication between the main characters very bright and exciting.
To analyze and better understand the relationship between Kuzco and Pacha, the following concepts can be used: elements of the communication process, ego conflict, power, conflict management styles. The aspects of the communication process are what human communication usually consists of. The main communication elements are a source, message, channel, receiver, noise, feedback, and context (Tietsort et al.).
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Communication between Kuzco and Pacha was not always effective because some components of communication were disrupted. For instance, Kuzco, most often being the source of the message, was not always interested in the feedback that Pacha was supposed to send him. Moreover, the context often did not contribute to communication since the characters were constantly in danger. In addition, Kuzco treated Pacha terribly, passing messages to him in a pompous and commanding tone. To improve communication, the characters should make the context of communication more calm and reasonable. Moreover, Kuzco should pay more attention to Pacha’s feedback and the ways of passing messages.
Ego-conflict is a conflict in which the original cause is ignored, and the disputants argue only for the sake of argument (Richards and Lynch). Kuzco and Pacha are very different characters in temperament and outlook. Unfortunately, their disputes often flared up over small things. Of course, Kuzco bears the primary blame because of its selfish nature. Quite often, he would start arguing with Pacha only to prove his case. For example, he did not want to concede to Pacha in his decision to demolish the village and then turned personal, calling Pacha an uncouth redneck. Kuzco should have shown less selfishness and valued the opinions and views of other people more.
Power is the ability to impose a point of view on other people, even if they think completely differently, the ability to influence someone else’s opinion. It is evident that in the cartoon, the character of Kuzco is constantly trying to demonstrate his power. Finding himself in a difficult situation, he tried to command Pacha, treating him as his servant. Kuzco pursued his goal without paying attention to the opinion of Pacha, trying to suppress it and impose his vision. However, Pacha did not fall for manipulation and eventually managed to change the emperor’s attitude toward people, building a friendship with him.
Conflict management styles are various actions that can help the interlocutors to resolve the dispute without aggravating the relationship (Wenxue and Wang). Kuzco tried to solve the conflict with the help of competition, imposing a solution on Pacha. After Pacha refused to take him to the palace, Kuzco changed tactics and used avoidance since he could not defend his interests. On the other hand, Pacha tried to use the most successful approach – collaboration, since he believed that only through joint efforts could they cope with all the difficulties. Kuzco should have listened to Pacha, cooperated with him so that the communication process would be more effective.
This cartoon can give some essential lessons on interpersonal communication. If Kuzco had developed practical interpersonal communication skills from the beginning, he would not have gotten into such trouble. It is necessary to listen to others, remember that everyone has their own opinion and worldview. It is impossible to be guided by selfishness and self-love in the process of communication because communication is the interaction of two individuals. It is necessary to be open and fair to others, appreciate their efforts and time.
“Emperor’s New Groove HD”. YouTube, uploaded by ChildrensAnimation LessEye Candy. 2018. Web.
Tietsort, Cris J., et al. “Free Listening: Identifying and evaluating listening barriers through empathic listening. “Communication Teacher 35.2 (2021): 129-134. Web.
Lu, Wenxue, and Jishuang Wang. “The influence of conflict management styles on relationship quality: The moderating effect of the level of task conflict. “International Journal of Project Management 35.8 (2017): 1483-1494. Web.
Richards, Arnold D., and Arthur A. Lynch. From ego psychology to contemporary conflict theory: A historical overview. Routledge, 2020.