18 Dec 2022


"When Harry Met Sally” vs. “Children of a Lesser God": A Comparative Analysis

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Movie Analysis 

When Harry Met Sally Movie” 

“ When Harry met Sally” is a movie that starts with Sally and Harry traveling together in a plane. They were not familiar with one another in their early lives, however; the chance to travel together opened the friendship door. At that point, Sally was dating a character called Joe, while Harry was about to marry a character called Helen. In their discussion, Harry takes his time to explain to Sally why men and women cannot be allies despite the fact that they were related to other people. Once the flight was over, the two alight and part their ways. Later on in other scenes, Sally informed her comrades, Marie, and Alice that she was parting ways with his boyfriend, Joe. Harry on the other world was having a difficult time after his wife to be –Helen- had left him. He was telling his friend Jess about the misfortune that had befallen him. Most of us fall into such coincidence during difficult times. Sally and Harry thought that was the end of their world in a relationship . Nonetheless, the difficult situations that they both faced opened the door for them to mingle in their later lives as it was evident in later scenes. 

Apparently, Harry and Sally met each other in a bookstore and forged a diner where the two had a chance to discuss their lives. Harry was amazed when it dawned on him that he now had a woman friend that he could talk to over the phone late at night. At some point, Sally feels unease tell Harry that she is dating despite Harry’s efforts to convince her to do so. Harry was open to her about what was happening in his life at that juncture. He discussed openly the kind of relationships he has been having with women. The two had a chance to share a lot about their lives until Sally pretends to be having an orgasm during the dinner to confirm to Harry that she was done with her past relationship. The dinner saw Harry trying to match Sally to Jesse and Sally trying to match Harry to Marie. However, in the end, it was Marie and Jesse, who ended up together. 

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After some time Harry and Sally went shopping for Jesses’ wedding with Marie. It was during this time that they bumped into Helen-Harry’s ex-wife. Sally and Harry entered into relationships with Julian and Emily respectively. However, on realizing that his ex-boyfriend was about to get married, Sally called Harry at midnight and the two ended up having sex in the name of comforting Sally. This happening proved to be a difficult one for them to handle in later days. Sally and Harry ended up cherishing the moments that they are apart. During Jesses’ wedding, the two had the fight to demonstrate how things were hard for them to cope up with. However, during the New Year’s Eve party, Harry confessed to Sally that he loved her. This concluded the movie merrily. 

Children of a Lesser God Movie 1986” 

“ Children of the lesser God” is another romantic movie that truly relates to our daily lives. The movie is rich in conflicts that reflect how love takes the time to grow. The main character –Sarah- in the movie is physically challenged. James –the teacher of the deaf-is characterized by moving from one job to another. This time round, he finds himself in a school where -Sarah one of the best student from the school-had been employed as a janitor. She used to clean floors and toilets. Sarah is amazingly beautiful; however, she is very stubborn and unwilling to learn how to speak. James was supposed to teach Sarah Norman how to communicate using the American Sign Language (ASL). Due to her stubborn nature, Sarah openly tells James that it is a waste of time to try to make a deaf person speak and read lips. In his attempt to justify that ASL is the best among the deaf, Sarah stubbornly accuses James of pretending to be God to design her in his own liking. Sarah goes to the extents of saying that deaf students cannot dance to the tune of deaf teachers who were working tirelessly to change them. She even tells James that she envisions being a teacher of the deaf as well as having deaf children. 

Despite the hurdles that James faced, he knew deep down from his heart that he was madly in love with Sarah. Eventually, time proved him right. Sarah felt the same way and the need for them to communicate in any language whatsoever cropped in. Sarah and James decided to get married, nonetheless, the society was also there ready to justify to them how that relationship cannot work. For instance, Orin an impaired student tried to tell Sarah that the marriage between her and James could not work. James, on the other hand, was met with hard opinions from the schoolmaster some stating that his move was unwise. In an attempt to defend himself and Sarah, James argued that he had no right whatsoever to decide what Sarah ought to hear or not. The climax of the movie was reached when the two overcome social pressure and got married.The movie portrays how the physically impaired persons were segregated from the society. Their right to associate freely with other members of the society who were not physically impaired was limited. It vividly paints out that every member of the society has the right to mingle freely irrespective of his or her physical capabilities. 

Analysis of the Articles 

Summary of “Relational Dialectics,” by Leslie Baxter & Barbara Montgomery 

According to Baxter and Montgomery (1996), intimate relationships cannot be explained on scientific grounds. Their vast experiences demonstrated that personal relationships were hit by contradictions, contingencies, non-rationalities and diverse realities. Relational dialectics in this regards focuses on the challenges that people with close ties undergo prior to attaining stability. Notably, the relationships not only involve romantic relationships, rather it involves friendship and family relationships as well. In the first place, contradiction forms the basis of relational dialectics. Contradiction develops when there are two interdependent forces yet they deny each other. For instance, James and Sarah experience contradiction in the sense that they are moved in separate directions simultaneously in relation to intimacy and independence. There are three relational dialectics in relation to contradiction namely connectedness-Separateness, Certainty-uncertainty, and Openness-Closedness (Baxter and Montgomery, 1996). 

Parallel dialectics can also vary between the couple and the community. In this regards, three cases can be experienced namely inclusion-seclusion, conventionality-uniqueness, and revelation-concealment (Baxter and Montgomery, 1996). In order to deal with the tension that dialect poses, there is the need for individuals to exhibit competence at the expense of contradiction. Baxter and Montgomery (1996) devised an eight-oriented strategy. This includes integration, denial, spiraling inversion, disorientation, segmentation, reaffirmation, recalibration and balance. For instance, in the final part of the movie Children of a lesser God, Sarah reaffirms love for James by locking her fingers suggestively asking James if they can get a place to meet. 

Summary of “Positive Distortion: The Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” by Judy C. Pearson 

According to Pearson (1992), couples who view each other’s behavior uniquely stand a chance of being successful in their relationships. Such couples do not focus on what the outside world say about them rather they strive to make their marriage look extraordinary. Satisfied couples exhibit openness and honesty (Pearson, 1992). However, the levels of openness and honesty vary. A couple may be misjudged for being reserved, nonetheless, in a relationship some space for secrets needs to be created. According to Pearson, couples who live happily do not necessarily have to share everything with their spouses. 

Conflicts and problems are characteristics of marriages. Nonetheless, satisfied couples have a way in which they view such challenges in a manner that does not speak negative to the outside world about their families. The willingness to forgive and forget forms an integral part in sustaining a happy marriage (Pearson, 1992). In every situation that couples face, there will be the need for them to be reminding one another the purpose that their relationship was meant for. Many relationships are torn apart because the spouses forgot about the reasons that brought them together. In this regards, there would be the need to spouses to face every situation with a positive mind. Positivity, in this case, calls for the need to develop a sense of certainty, acceptance, and affirmation (Pearson, 1992). 

The need to understand the prophecy of self-fulfilling is also vital in any relationship. This implies that when we treat people in a particular way they will end up being the way we are treating them. However, there is the need to shun negative behavior in marriages such as being too cold, furious, blaming, sarcastic or depressed. Part of being positive involves being charming or rather humorous. That will make the family be warm and joyous. Therefore, the source of stability and happiness in any relationship lies within the couples themselves. The couples ought not to count on external sources for their marriage to work (Pearson, 1992). 

Relationship between the Movies and the Articles 

The movie and the articles have the theme of love and they all deploy different characters to illustrate their strong perception. Despite the fact that they use different characters and situations, intrapersonal communication appears to be an integral part of any relationship. As it is characteristic in any relationship, the articles and the movies clearly portray the various developmental stages in relationship. That includes attraction, openness, seclusions, and experimentation. James was attracted to Sarah and Harry finally declares his attraction to Sally. From the video and the articles, the sign of a good relationship is revealed. Primarily, it starts with one showing caring intentions, which later develops into a love. Baxter and Montgomery (1996), perfectly explained that theme under openness and closedness as a source of contradiction in relationships. 

From the article by Baxter and Montgomery (1996), couples will always require plenty of private moments until when they will understand the true meaning of their relationship. This marks the seclusion phase. The more freedom they get the more they understand their peculiar subculture. Inclusions might prove to be a hurdle. James, for instance, is faced with a serious challenge from the schoolmaster while Sarah feels she is unwanted by James’s students after inclusions. The same idea notion is conveyed in “When Harry met Sally. The two had ample time to understand what they meant for each other before taking the step to indulge in a serious relationship. According to Pearson (1992), seclusion is important because the couples will get enough time to justify why they need to be together. 

There is also the issue of conventionality and uniqueness. The school that James is working with does not allow innovation. They want things to be done traditionally. James decision to relate with Sarah is deemed unwise. Pearson (1992), states that for newlyweds to enjoy happiness, they themselves must be the source of their happiness. In other words, whenever couples face challenges, it is imperative for them to seek solutions by themselves rather than involving people from the outside world. James in that regards opts to ignore the advice from the schoolmaster whereas Harry, takes the initiative to confront Sally with the reality about his feelings on her to end the stalemate that they were in. 

The Pearson’s article and the two movies manifest revelation and concealment phase as depicted by Baxter and Montgomery (1996). Pearson (1992) states that, despite the fact that couples need to be open and honest with each other, some space for secrets needs to be created. The author also argues that spouses are not supposed to tell their partners about everything. James used to blame Sarah of being reserved, yet she was right to do that. In the end she revealed about the sexual abuse she faced while growing up. Harry and Sally on the other hand were too reserved about their feelings. However, later on Harry took made the first step to confess his love for Sally. 

As the article by Baxter and Montgomery (1996) reveals, connectedness and separateness forms the primary source of contradiction. A relationship cannot exist unless the involved parties can deal with their individual freedom. Nevertheless, the extreme connection is also detrimental in any relationship since it loses an individual’s identity. In the children of a lesser God, Sarah does not want James close to her but at some point, she confesses to her mother that she feels lonely without James. This is a typical illustration of connectedness-separateness. On the other hand, Harry and Sally after making love they never were in terms again. In fact, Sally did not want to see Harry again. Nevertheless, immediately Harry declared his love to her, they kissed and ended up marrying. That is another good case scenario of connectedness-separateness. 

Pearson (1992) states that conflicts and problems are characteristic of any relationship. We can never be certain when they will set in (Baxter & Montgomery, 1996). Baxter and Montgomery (1996) add that most people want certainty in relationships, however, the other side also looms. Sarah used to push James away with her anger. In most conversations, she used to withdraw herself to create an emotional distance. This was so predictable of her. In the end, James faces her straight and confesses his love for her- a sign of unpredictability. Harry and Sally had only shared intimate moment only once and that was when she learnt that Joe was getting married. 

At no point would one expect the two would end up in a relationship. In the end, a dramatic turn of events saw both of them getting married. That justifies Baxter and Montgomery (1996) notion of certainty and uncertainty. In conclusion, relationships are faced with a myriad challenges however, the success of any relationship will depend on the ability of the couples to infuse positivity as Pearson (1992) and Baxter and Montgomery (1996) suggests. Collectively, p ositivity in this case calls for the need to develop a sense of certainty, acceptance, and affirmation (Pearson, 1992; Baxter & Montgomery 1996; Haines, 2015; Rand, 2016). 


Baxter, L & Montgomery, B. (1996). Relational Dialectics. In Relating: Dialogues &Dialectics (pp. 179-190). New York: Guildford Press. 

Haines, R. (2015, Mar 2). Children of a Lesser God Movie 1986 . (Video File). Retrieved from http://www.moviestream4u.net/search/Children+of+a+Lesser+God. 

Pearson, C. J. (1992). Positive Distortion: The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Rand, L. (2016, May 19). When Harry Met Sally Movie - Meg Ryan & Carrie Fisher Movies. (Video File). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_bLfMpl20E. 

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