Silent Bob first appeared in the Kevin Smith movie Clerks. The character is also played by Kevin Smith himself. Silent Bob along with his partner in crime Jay have appeared in several mediums including almost all of Kevin Smith’s movies, including Clerks, MallRats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob’s own feature film Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back.
Kevin Smith just announced that he will be directing a new jay and silent bob movie
The times when he does talk he does have a great deal of wisdom. He helps the main characters in two movies help resolve a problem that they are conflicted with. In chasing Amy it is lack of sexual experience and in clerks his words help to redefine a relationship. He also has a great deal of knowledge which he shows when he discusses likeness rights in Jay and Silent bob strike back
Silent Bob struggles with Selective mutism. It is difficult to determine if it reaches the level of a disorder because the movies don’t depict if it has a negative impact on his life. Though he chooses not to talk he is still able to develop relationships with others (jay and it sounds like he has had relationships in the past (Amy))
It has not been determined if there is a singular cause is for selective mutism but it often depends on the individual. When I view silent Bob I think that his choice to not talk may come from anxiety and possibly difficulty managing extreme strong emotions.
Anger– In watching the films I do wonder if anger plays a role on Silent Bob’s selective mutism. I wonder if he experiences such strong emotions of anger that he does not know what to do with. From the movies it is eluded to that silent Bob is the enforcer of the jay and silent bob dyad. IN mallrats he takes down two security guards by squeezing their necks. IN dogma he throws that two angels out off of the train and in Jay and silent bob strike back there is montage scene where they go around and beat people up for saying bad things about them on the internet. There are other scene throughout the movies that suggest that if people don’t pay Jay silent bob will take care of them. I began to wonder if silent bob realizes how strong he is and that scares him. He seems to want to come off as this nice loving (wants to keep the monkey) but inside he feels as though he is just an angry person. Evidence from the movie suggests that he can possibly have a temper. I jay and silent bob he gets extremely angry at Jay when jay doesn’t understand his sign Language. He also gets upset in the chasing Amy story and says that he is out for blood. He may worry that if he talks he may say something hurtful and push others away which is not his intention.
To help deal with some of that anger Silent Bob may use the defense of primitative withdrawal. He may use weed as a way to manage those strong feeling states
SELF-ESTEEM In viewing silent bob I wonder how much Self-esteem is connected to his selective mutism. He seems to vacillate between moments of being self assured and then moments of not feeling “good enough” The dinner scene in chasing amy seems to be the first time that he actually stands up to Jay. At one point saying “do something,” to him which Jay quickly backs down from. He then begins to tell the story of amy which is a girl that he was in love with and lost. The reason that he said he said that he became so angry with her is because that he felt small and he was not good enough.
There is evidence to suggest that silent bob’s self-esteem may get in the way of him living a life outside of his relationship with Jay. In Jay and silent bob strike back there is scene where ben Affleck is talking about Jay and silent Bob wanting more in their lives. He singularly points out Silent Bob specifically and says “ I know this poor hapless bastard does. I look into his eyes and I see a may screaming out when lord when is it gonna be my time. As Affleck is saying his dialogue you can slowly see silent bob’s facial expression begin to change as if he is agreeing with him. Jay quickly shoots him a look and Silent bob pretends as if he thinks been Affleck is crazy. To me this suggests that Silent Bob does have a desire to do something different with his life but he may not feel good enough or self-confident that he can do anything about it.
Additionally, In the chasing amy diner scene where he talks about wanting to be a dancer in vegas. Which for a variety of reasons may not be able to happen but it shows again that he has desires to do something different but he does not whether I could be because of low self-esteem or lack of desire. He also seems to have a lot of talents that would allow him to be successful he is good at science (won the science fair-Mallrats)
Relationship with Jay: The strongest relationship that Silent Bob has is his relationship with jay. Hence for it is always jay and silent bob. We know little about there relationship growing up outside of the fact that they met in front of the quick stop as babies,
I do wonder what Silent Bob would get out of this relationship. Two things came to mind. The first being that Jay provides Silent Bob with that opportunity he desires which is the desire not to talk. The relationship feels a need for Silent Bob since he does not have to talk. It be helpful to him because it makes him laugh and it makes him money. He is fine playing second fiddle because all of those needs are met. As long as the needs are met he has not reason to do or try anything different.
The second is that Bob may feel that Jay needs protection. The movies attempt to portray Jay as a goofy guy who has a level of intelligence but outside of his element he may miss things (misses social cues, doesn’t know what the internet is) and Bob may worry that Jay needs a level of protection from the world. Bob tends to guide him I the right direction (movie likeness rights) but offers physical protection. Bob is shown in the movies to be the physical enforcer. I know I am going out on a limb but the two of them may have grown up together and Bob got something from the relationship at that point but now he may not get as much but still feels indebted to Jay which keeps him around.
Primitive withdrawal- When an infant is overstimulated or distressed it will often simply fall asleep.
Psychological withdrawal into a different state of consciousness is an automatic, self-protective response that one sees in the tiniest of human beings.
Adult version of the same process can be observed in people who retreat from social or interpersonal situation, substituting the stimulation of their internal fantasy world for the stress of relating to others.
A propensity to use chemicals to alter one’s consciousness can also be considered a kind of withdrawal.
The main advantage of withdrawal as a defensive strategy is that while it involves a psychological escape from reality, it requires little distortion of it
People who depend on withdrawal console themselves no by misunderstanding the world but by retreating from it.
Children with selective mutism are often sensory over responsive and consequently highly anxious. Jay may be over stimulating.
Selective mutism refers to a continuing difficulty in taking in social situations coupled with an ability to comprehend language and to speak I other settings.
While this pattern is reported to be found in less than one percent of children, it is nonetheless challenging for parents, educators, and the child.
Children with selective mutism tend to be anxious and are often highly reactive to new environments, especially those that are crowded and noisy, in which sounds and movements can be surprising and unpredictable.
The inability to speak maybe symptomatic of a subjective state of overwhelming fear and vigilance.
Unresolved developmental anxieties related to fears of body damage, aggression and other negative emotion are evident with constricted capacities to symbolize and express feelings safely in play or conversation.
May interfere with normal social communication
While encountering others individuals in social interactions, children with selective mutism do not initiate speech or reciprocally respond when spoken to by others.
The lack of speech may interfere with social communication, although children with this disorder sometimes use non spoken or nonverbal means
Behavioral inhibition may play a role
Parents of children with selective mutism have been described as overprotective or more controlling than parents of children with anxiety disorder