An important aspect of interpersonal communication that needs to be studied is the people involved in the communication process. Specifically, the element to examine about individuals is the notion of roles and self-concept. Even more importantly, is the study of how those roles and self-concepts are formed. There are several theories about the formation of self-concepts, but one in particular stands out. This theory is called the looking-glass self and it can be found in every day life; it is a part of our literature, television, and especially movies. .
The concept of the looking-glass self was coined by Charles Horton Cooley in the eighteen hundreds. Cooley concluded that a " person's self develops from interaction with other" (Henslin 62). Cooley simply summarized this idea with a couplet: "Each to each a looking-glass/Reflects the other that doth pass" (Trenholm & Jensen 189). Furthermore, Cooley explained that the looking-glass self theory contains three important elements. We imagine how we appear to those around us. We imagine how others judge us. We experience a feeling or some type of reaction. From these three elements we develop a self-concept.
The Rookie, a Disney film based on a real life story, exemplifies the looking-glass self theory several times. In The Rookie, Dennis Quaid plays Jim Morris, a father, a teacher, an aging high school baseball coach, and a perfect example of the looking-glass self theory at work. Jim, a one time baseball pitcher, had his shot to play baseball, but blew out his pitching shoulder, and retired without ever making it to the big leagues. During the course of the movie Jim makes a bet with his team that if they won the district championship; he would try out for the majors. This is the first time that we see a clear example of the looking-glass self theory at work.
Jim, who is around his high school baseball team, performs with the kids as a wonderful pitcher.