Erin Brockovich - Victoria Kuehn

Victoria Kuehn-Larson
Erin’s Characteristics
Personality Traits
Self-Concept Change
Examples of Initial Perception
Managing her Identity
Self-fulfilling prophecy
Confidence in spite of being misperceived
Role language plays in Identity Management &
Perception Problems
Role language plays in relationships
Other Course Concepts
Erin was outgoing, abrupt, vocal
and she knew how to use her
“assets” to get what she wanted.
Her public self and her private self
had the same meaning.
She did not have a filter on her
communication; she said what was
on her mind in a very direct
Erin: vocal, pessimistic, sarcastic,
passionate in her convictions,
driven, loyal, independent
George: caring, loving, good
with children, emotional, free
Ed: Compassionate, hierarchal, a
hard worker, unable to say no
when pushed
Throughout the movie, Erin evolved.
She started out as a very pessimistic person. She
was a single mother with three small children, and
had a hard time with finding a job and raising her
children. She didn’t trust anyone.
Her perception of herself had been decreased
because of her emotional past, with her husbands
leaving her and her kids to fight the battle alone.
Her self-esteem was low; she didn’t have any work
experience due to raising her kids. Erin was a
fighter and wouldn’t give up; she had her kids
depending on her.
After losing a court case that would have
helped to pay her $17,000 in medical bills, she
was devastated. Ed promised her that it was an
open and shut case, but her attitude and
forcefulness lost her the case.
Even though she was pessimistic, she went to
Ed’s office and confronted him. Erin needed a
job and needed to feed her family. They
discussed (loudly) that she would not leave his
office until he said that she could work for him.
Erin was creative in pursuing ideas outside the
box, she could not lay helpless and let people
get the best of her.
Even though she had passion all along, this job
that she fought for helped her evolve. It
changed her from being dependent on others to
being self-sufficient. Not only that, but people
needed her – they depended on her.
Erin put herself out there and was very
confident in her convictions
When she was discussing with Ed (her boss)
about continuing with the PG&E case, she was
passionate about taking the case. Ed was
explaining that it would be too expense and
would cost millions of dollars to continue. She
swore at Ed, her passion was being vocalized
with a raised voice and disrespect. The office
staff would watch as Erin and Ed would have
these arguments in amazement.
Erin is a perfect example of someone that does not
allow “self-fulfilling prophecies” to dictate her life.
Even when no one believed in Erin, she persevered
and succeeded.
A good example of this in the movie is when
the other attorney’s office had joined with
Ed’s office to help with the case. They
looked at Erin with judging eyes and
thought she would be better suited in
dictation rather than in the field. Despite
this, the community looked to her for
guidance. She was able to communicate
with them at their level; she was like them, a
single mother struggling to get by.
When Erin and Ed went to the office to explain
what they had done and it had only taken them
four days to get all of them signed, the other
attorneys looked in amazement. They asked
how she had done this; she merely explained,
“I just went out there and performed sexual
favors. 634 blow jobs in 5 days...”
For Erin, she used “language”. She used both
verbal and nonverbal communication, with no
filter, in the way she addressed people.
Erin lived for her family – sacrificing all the time she
had on work, for her kids
She worked to take care of
her family – but this time
she had help to take care
of her kids so she could
focus on others that
needed her.
Unfortunately, that meant
that she didn’t have a lot
of time for a boyfriend
Erin brought her boyfriend to give Donna, one of
the clients, the results of the trial. He didn’t
understand why she brought him with, buy she
wanted to show him why she hadn’t been home
and the people needed her in the community.
She did this to help his self esteem - she had
worked so hard to benefit other people, and that
the perseverance and dedication paid off.
Even though they had sacrificed, her with work
and him with the family, at the end of the day they
could smile knowing it was all worth it.
When Ed is going to present Erin with her check, he tells her that it’s not exactly
as they had discussed. Based on previous experiences, she assumes the worst.
Quote from the Movie:
Erin Brockovich: Ya know why everyone thinks that all lawyers are back stabbing, blood
sucking scum bags? cause they are! and I can not believe you expect me to go out, leave my kids
with strangers and get people to trust you with THEIR lives while all the while your screwing
me! You know, Ed, it's not about the number! It's about the way my work is valued in this firm...
[She looks at the two million dollar bonus check]
Ed Masry: Like I was saying, I thought that the number you proposed was inappropriate, so I
increased it.
[Turns to walk away and turns around to her]
Ed Masry: Do they teach beauty queens to apologize? Because you suck at it!
[Long pause, as Erin looks at the check]
Erin Brockovich: Uh, Ed... Uh... thank you...
Ed, finding this amusing, tries to
keep a straight face and then
uses a line that she used on him
earlier in the movie.
The Dynamic between Ed & Erin:
Erin could get away with her profanity with Ed
They grew to respect and value each other
Towards the end, he turned the tables and used
some of her characteristics back at her
Erin’s wardrobe spoke
volumes in her non verbal
From her “assets” to her confrontations, Erin was
a very abrupt but driving person, whose
perceptions were not always as they seemed. She
was very caring, which carried through to her
convictions. The trials and tribulations of her life
shaped the driving force in her. Through her
interpersonal relationships, she was able to evolve
and also change the course of people’s lives by
providing them with hope and eventually the
necessary compensation they deserved.
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