Extra Credit Short Essay
Communication Theory in Moon Over Buffalo
The Expectancy Violations Theory, which attempts to explain how individuals react to violative behavior or violations of expected behavior, comports to the behavior of the characters in Moon Over Buffalo, especially that of George. He violates the expectancy of his wife, Charlotte, by sleeping with an actor from his company, resulting in Charlotte threatening to leave with a rich lawyer. Later, the entry of a drunken George in the wrong costume shocks and embarrasses the other actors who are in costume for another play. In conclusion, George’s muddling of his personal relationships with his profession as an actor results in public embarrassment and near-dissolution as a family, the latter of which is only reversed as he apologetically gets on his knees and makes strategic use of proxemics – holding onto Charlotte’s legs – to acknowledge his need for Charlotte in his life. Charlotte interprets and evaluates the sincerity of this behavior, ultimately forgiving him for his transgressions. Hence, the theory helps to explain how the characters assess the damage and reconciliability of unexpected or unwanted behavior.