Cultural Differences Between Anna And The King

1184 Words 5 Pages
Intercultural communication differences are unavoidable when people from different cultures communicate with each other. In some aspects, those differences may make people exciting contacing with a new culture. However, most of time, cultural differences cause unpleasant feelings to one in a new environment. In this analysis of the film “Anna and the king”, the differences between Siam (Thailand) and England cultures will be demonstrated through four concepts: power distance, gender discrimination, stereotype, and relationship vs. task orientation.
I. Plot
In 1862, Anna Leonowens, a Bitish widowed teacher, with her son Louis were invited to Siam (Thailand today) to educate King Mongkut’s children on the way of the West. Mongkut wants to reform
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Power distance
According to Hofstede (2011), power distance refers to the magnitude of acceptance of unequal power distribution in a society or a group. A society with high (large) power distance is featured by the hierarchical order in which people in low position have little power and accept to obey the superior. On the contrary, members of a low (small) power distance society demand a democracy system with equality in the relationship between subordinates and superiors.
In “Anna and the king”, Siam, an Asian feudal country, displays typical features of high power distance. This society, there are great divisions of social classes. King Mongkut is venerated as God and had absolute power, and everyone must kneel down in front of him. However, Anna comes from England, a society with low power distance therefore she treats people as an equal. Ignoring Prime Minister’s instruction about protocol, Anna addresses King directly and just bows her body to pay her respect and talks standing and looking straight in King’s eyes. She frankly asks King to give her a house as he promised and usually has arguments with King about things she considers
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relationship orientaion
In the book “Cultural Intelligence: A Guide to Working with People from Other Cultures”, the author points out that in task- orientated culture, people prefer going straight to business to maintaining relationship, and get to know colleagues quickly and superficially. Unlike task- oriented culture, members of relationship- oriented one pay more attention to finding out their co-workers’ personal information (Peterson, 2006).
When Anna is introduced to the Prime Minister, she is asked questions of her personal life such as her relations in Bangkok, marital status, how long her husband has died and how he died. This is the custom of Siam as well as many other Asian countries to show their politeness and caring to others.
Notwithstanding, the women from a task-oriented society feels offended at those questions and wants to get straight down to the business, about the contract, her tasks and King’s promise of giving her a house outside the palace “my purpose here is as tutor to the king's son, and it is not necessary to ask personal

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