A Negotiation Analysis of 'Lilies of the Field'

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Lilies of the Field: A Negotiation Analysis Introduction This paper will give a negotiation analysis of the film Lilies of the Field and show how it is, in effect, a negotiation of power between two strong-willed individuals, Homer Smith and Mother Maria, both of whom get (by way of compromise) what they want in the end. The synopsis of Ralph Nelson's 1963 film adaptation of Lilies of the Field is simple: an African-American itinerant worker named Homer Smith stops at a poor farm in the southwestern desert of the U.S. Only there to acquire some water for his overheating car, he meets a group of East-European nuns, who can barely speak English or maintain their farm. The mother superior, named Mother Maria, wants the man to stay and help them with the work on the farm and believes that God has sent him to do just that. Homer Smith initially refuses the request but then reckons he could stand to earn a few dollars for a day's labor so changes his mind and gladly offers his services. At the end of the day, he makes out a bill, but Mother Maria disregards it and asks why he is in such a hurry. He responds that he is hungry, and Mother Maria shakes her head and reprimands him, saying, "We were not put on the earth to hurry, Shmidt." She takes the bill he has extended to her, puts it in her pocket and says, "For supper I ring the bell." The negotiation has begun. Through a series of similar confrontations, Mother Maria manages to get Smith to build a chapel, and Smith
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