Why All Emory Students Should Watch “Pillow Talk”

In English 101: Technology and the Senses, students learn to relate different forms of technology to methods of writing.  Throughout the course, the objective is to have first year students practice improving their writing skills while bringing a focus of technology and the different sensory modalities to their work.  Although writing is the main focus, reading pieces that relate to the two main topics of the course allows students to learn more about other writers’ methods of how to create quality pieces of literature.  In addition, students watch and reflect on how these films relate back to technology and the senses.

One film that the class watched is called “Pillow Talk”.  The movie is based around a telephone, and portrays how easy it is for people to “code-switch” while using it.  Code-switching is when people talk and act in different ways depending on the situation that they are in and the people they are with.  In the movie, the main character, Jan, strongly dislikes the man who shares her telephone line and constantly yells at him over the phone.  The man, Brad, speaks to Jan in a condescending voice over the phone, but when he finds out who she is in person, takes on the persona of a charming man from Texas.  Because neither of them had met the other in person, both of them code-switched when they were together because they no longer had the same relationship that they had over the phone (or so Jan thought, as Brad was well aware of who she was).

The movie “Pillow Talk” includes both of the main themes of the class: technology (the telephone) and the senses (speech/hearing).  Without the telephone, which uses speech to relay messages, the two different relationships between Brad and Jan would not exist.  Also, code-switching has become a very prominent part of life, as everyone must learn that it is not acceptable to talk to a professor in the same way that they talk to a best friend.  Brad and Jan use code-switching to transfer from one part of their personalities to another because both parts of the personalities shown in the movie do not work for both of the relationships that they have with each other.

In addition, the film itself is another aspect of technology and the senses because it shows a visual representation of the story.  As opposed to a book or an article, movies allow students to use more than just their eyes to learn about a story.  The connection between technology and the senses is very present in films because one can see pictures and listen to different characters in order to learn about what is happening, while books or articles force the reader to read just words and hear just their own voices in their heads.

Based on this reasoning, the movie “Pillow Talk” should be shown to all Emory students because it will further their abilities to observe, discuss, and reflect on the importance of technology, the senses, and the relationship between the two.  “Pillow Talk” encompasses all of these aspects that lead to quality writing skills, and that paired with how enjoyable it is to watch would benefit all students at this university.


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