Family Communication Collage Paul Connolly CMS 332 11/17/11
Breaking Bad•I decided to do my collage on one of myfavorite television shows, Breaking Bad.•The show revolves around the Whitefamily. On the outside the Whitesmight look like any normal family butthere are some dark secrets at play.•Walter White, a chemistry teacherfinds out he has lung cancer and onlyhas a limited time to live. Walt decidesto cook crystal methamphetamine inorder to make a bunch of money toleave behind for his family when he isgone.•I thought they would be a fun familyto analyze because of how close theyare. No matter how bad things get thefamily is always the priority.
CharactersWalter White is trying to balance Skyler White is a bookkeeper whomaking a living in the world of struggles to keep Walt’s secret but doescrime while being a normal so for the good of the family.member of the family.Walter Jr. is a teenage son Jessie Pinkman is one of Walt’s formerwith cerebal palsy who cares a delinquent students. He becomes Walt’slot for his family. partner in crime and Walt becomes a father figure for him.
CharactersMarie is Skyler’s sister. She Hank is Marie’s husband. He is aworks in the medical field and drug enforcement officer. He isshe is always there to talk to the funny one in the family andSkyler. is always there to lend a hand.
Family Type“Today, a family may be viewed morebroadly as a group of people with a pasthistory, a present reality, and a futureexpectation of interconnected mutuallyinfluencing relationships.”(Galvin pg.6) •The Whites are a two-parent biological family. •Walt and Skyler have been married for many years and have a teenage son named Walt Jr. and an infant daughter named Holly. •Walt’s involvement in the drug world creates a type of double life and Jesse becomes like a son to him. In this sense Walt himself has a non- traditional family.
Family Themes “Themes capture the beliefs that guide family members’ actions; thereby you may predict a family’s themes by watching how members live their lives.(Galvin pg.41)•One theme the Whites have is banding together when amember could be in trouble. They support each other. Nomatter what is going on the family will always be there foryou. Walt has surgery for his cancer, Skyler has Holly, andHank is wounded on the job. In all these cases the familydrops what they are doing and goes to check on the welfareof the member. •Another theme the White’s have is that there is always someone to talk to. You do not have to suffer in silence. Members want to hear you out and help but you do have to speak up.
Secrets “Toxic secrets poison family relationships; key family issues and stories remain untold and unexplained.”(Galvin pg.89)•Walt can’t stop cooking because he believes he needs more and more money.Initially he chooses not tell anyone in his family that he is making drugs and he hasto lie about the origin of the money that is coming in. His involvement with the drugworld essentially becomes a double life for him. He keeps a second cell phone toorganize deals and talk to his partner. He goes on a fake vacation in order to havemore cooking time. He develops a persona called Heisenberg in order to conductbusiness. It is an exciting and dangerous lifestyle and he tries to balance it with beinga regular family dad. The family is pumped with lies about why Walt comes home solate and where he goes.
Family Rituals“Even daily conversations maybecome ritualized due to theirimportance.”(Galvin pg.116) •One family ritual the Whites have is discussion around the table when having a meal. It is not just a time to eat it is a good time to communicate. Everyone sits down and discusses their lives and how they feel about certain things. It provides everyone with an opportunity to get something off their chest or run by an idea.
Family Stories“Stories construct and reaffirm themembers’ identities representing part ofa self-definition.”(Galvin pg.97) •Hank loves to tell his family exciting stories and he always puts an emphasis on himself. Hank is a cop and Walt is a teacher so there is going to be a big difference in the kind of stories they tell. Walt Jr. is a typical teenager and he is much more interested in the type of life Hank lives. Of course Walt secretly lives an exciting life but he can’t talk about it. Walt Jr.’s admiration for Hank is very visible and it clearly hurts Walt. Walt feels like he can’t express his true self and that his son would be more interested in his stories if he could tell him.
“I have more money than I can Economic Issues spend, what I dont have is my family” -Walter White “Economic pressures add significant stress to the lives of poor family members, and this stress affects the ways family members relate to each other. “(Galvin pg.16)Getting the money for cancer treatment is how Waltends up “Breaking Bad.” His insurance won’t cover itand even if they find a way the odds of a successfulrecovery are stacked against him at this stage. Waltdoesn’t want to take a risk that the treatment will failand leave his family in tremendous amount of debt.His circumstance leads him to use what he knows,chemistry, in order to make the money. Cooking andselling drugs become an obsession and he puts hisfamily life on the back burner. Walt gets the moneybut he loses his family emotionally in the process.When he is cured from the cancer he realizes themethods he chose to use to get to that point werenot worth it.
Communication and Power “In a one-up position, one family member attempts to exercise more power control over one or more other member.”(Galvin pg.189)•Walt has a one-up position with Jesse. He wants to run thedrug business his way or not at all. While he does care forJesse there is no question that he views him as inferior andsecondary to himself.•Jesse cannot cook like Walt can and so he is dependent onhim. Walt initially wants to be a silent partner who justdoes the cooking. He wants Jesse to run the businessaspect of the crime and so Jesse ends up taking most of therisks in the beginning. Walt is very critical about the wayJesse does things and this leads to a deeper involvementfor Walt.•Walt almost has a need to have power over Jesse. Thisleads him to ending up using Jesse. He knows Jesse looksup to him and he takes advantage of that.
Decision Making “Decision making about issues surrounding health and illness can create major struggles for families.”(Galvin pg 204) •Walt makes the decision to take chemotherapy. He doesn’t agree with the family’s decision of how to pay for it and decides to make the money behind their back. The way he makes his money takes him on a course of very bad decisions •He rationalizes his bad decisions by saying and believing that everything he does he does for his family. When he becomes cured his thinking backfires when he doesn’t want to stop cooking. It is no longer something for his family or to keep him alive his cooking has become an addiction.
Conflict“Family members who confront their differencesare more likely to improve their relationships andexperience more joint benefits that increase withlove and caring.”(Galvin pg.210)•There is conflict between Walt and Skyler when shefinds out about his secret life as a drug producer. Sheeventually decides not to turn Walt in and insteadworks with him to create a believable story for howWalt came across all the money.•Walt and Jesse couldn’t be more different. Theirconflict and relationship struggles are my favoriteparts of the show. Despite their ups and downs theywork together and become a really good team.
My Definition of Family•To me a family is a support group of connected individuals. People in the group arelinked to each other and communicate with one another. A key component to thesystem is interaction between members. A family allows the opportunity for aperson to be comfortable with who they are and how they express themselves.There is a different type of judgment in a family than there is in public. They knowthe real you and you know the real them. They can be honest with you at timeswhen others who are not a part of your family may not.•I can’t compare my situation with that of Breaking Bad’s but I respect thecharacters ‘ importance on family. No matter what decisions are made or whatthings happen the family has each other’s back. There is a lot of trust in a family andI can see how that can be good and bad.
Works CitedGalvin, Kathleen M, Carma L Bylund, and Bernard J Brommel. Family Communication.Illinois: Pearson Education, 2008. Print.
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