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The Breakfast Club

By: Larissa and Nina

. dufresne

on 19 January 2013

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Transcript of The Breakfast Club

Film Study John Bender Brian Johnson
Claire Standish has it all – she’s rich, spoiled, the “queen bee”. Everyone knows who Claire is, considering she’s the most popular girl in school. At first, she seems extremely conceited and stuck up, but as the story unravels, you can tell that she is actually very vulnerable and rarely makes her own choices. She thinks that everyone loves and worships her, but in reality not that many people outside of her friend group really do. As mentioned before, she’s part of the popular clique at school, meaning her friends are basically everything to her. The typical stereotypes that she represents are the typical innocent, sweet, spoiled and snobby popular girl – hence some of her nicknames “Prom Queen”, “Cherry” and “Queeny”. Charles Horton Cooley “Looking Glass Self” Theory: John Bender is the punk in the mixed of the five students in detention. He shows this by talking back to the principal, as well as his body language, when he first walks into the room he says he has a spot, which shows that he is in detention often, which reflects his attitude that he owns the place. One of his strengths is leadership and although his decisions may not be the best he does get the group of students to follow. For example the other students know that it is wrong to leave the library, yet they follow John and go to his locker. Not only that but he also sacrifices himself so that the others wouldn't get in trouble. Some weaknesses that John has is that he puts on a mask that helps him hide his pain which causes him to act out and anger easily, as well as be disrespectful to figures of authority. Agents of Socialization Brian Johnson is the "brain" of the group. He belongs to all of the academic clubs in school, and upholds an excellent grade average. It is shown in the movie that he is under a lot of pressure, especially from parents, to maintain these grades. He is extremely overwhelmed when he takes shop, expecting to fly by but is actually failing, which is unacceptable in his eyes. He is stereotypically viewed as a nerd, dork, geek, pee-wee etc;. Throughout the movie, you find out that he was suicidal, which you would never expect from his driven personality.
Claire is the perfect example of someone whose personality can be explained by the Looking Glass Self Theory. The theory states that one’s sense of self is derived from others (Kennedy), which applies directly to Claire being that she is the most popular girl in school. Clearly she cares what others think about her, and she isn’t really her own person – she’s what everyone expects her to be. The theory also states that “the reactions of other people, especially our peers act like mirrors that show us who we are” (Kennedy). Claire fits in to this specific view of the personality because she acts like everyone wants her to, she lives off of the reactions of other people. The theory also states “we observe how those around us view us, and then we react to this perception with pride or embarrassment and finally, develop a set of beliefs about ourselves as a result”. Claire is depicted as conceited, and maybe even self-obsessed, which shows us that her relationship with herself, or her view of herself is based on the how she thinks other people around her see her. Being the queen bee, she is in the mindset that everyone loves her, so then she reflects that by acting that way. “Do you know how popular I am? I am so popular. Everybody loves me so much at this school.” (Claire) The Looking Glass Theory overall the theory that one’s personality (in this case Claire’s), is determined largely on how other people view you, and how they react to everything you do, which is then reflected onto you. Claire is the perfect example because she embodies every aspect of this theory, because of her popularity. Bender, Burner, Punk The Theory of Socialization and Personality Development that applies most to Brian would be Emile Durkheim’s Structural Functionalism. This theory states that everyone has their own role to play in society, and that have to live up to the expectations of this certain role. People want to believe that they are part of society, and if they do, they are less likely to commit suicide. (Kennedy, Bridget) In Brian’s case, his role in society is the academic superstar. His role requires him to maintain his top grades and excellent behaviour, but when he is unable to fulfill his role, it makes him feel alienated from society. Corresponding to the theory that one is more likely to commit suicide if they do not feel like they are part of society, Brian displays that when he cannot contribute his part, he takes it upon himself to bring a gun to school purposefully, to kill himself.

“Andrew Clark: What’s the gun for?
Brian Johnson: My lamp doesn’t work. If I ace the rest of the trimester, I’m still only a B and everything is ruined….I wasn’t going to waste anybody! Just me.” (Hughes) Agents Of Socialization School The Family For Bender, the family as an agent of socialization has had the biggest effect on their personality. Bender never had gotten the "love, concern and attention in the early years" (Kennedy) that he needed. He was unintentionally affected by his family, and his observations of his parents reactions to situations, and their own personal habits. Throughout Benders childhood as he observed his parents bad behavior, little did he know that it was wrong. Therefor, this affected Benders Personality. The School In this clip we see Benders description of his home life. His father physically abuses him, causing him to make his own world where he cant escape. at first when he is seen, he is the classic bad boy who just seems to want attention, but looking deeper into his character, the viewers can see that, he is just protection himself from figures of authority. Another agent of socialization that has effect on bender is the school. Due to Benders lack of proper learning in in early years, the impact of this home life negatively affected his school experience. When being in school, you are taught the knowledge, attitude and skills in order to be successful in life. Not only does Bender have a problem with this, but he also has a problem with the hidden curriculum that the school teaches. The expectations such as cooperation, reliability, promptness, and respect for authority. He often shows this by talking back to Mr.Vernon. 2 3 The Breakfast Club 1 Claire Standish Peer Group Claire’s main influence on her personality and behaviour (in her adolescence) is her peer group. Many of her actions are results of what her friends have told her to do, or what they are doing. The Peer Group creates opportunity to be pressured to conform (Kennedy, Bridget) which is exactly what Claire talks about in the movie – how hard it is not to be able to make decisions for herself because she can’t go against her friends. Why is this? Because at Claire’s level of popularity, it is vital for her to do only what is “socially acceptable” for her to be doing. “I hate it. I hate having to go along with everything my friends say.” (Claire) It is made clear that she doesn’t enjoy having to ‘conform’ and do everything her friends do, yet she still does because she wants to stay popular. The other agent of socialization that applies to Claire would be her family. She talks about how her parents use her to get back at each other – “I don't think either one of them gives a sh*t about me. It's like they use me just to get back at each other.” (Claire) Her behaviour and personality could be impacted by this, because she can tell that her parents only buy her things and give her what she wants so that they can try and outdo the other. This would affect her because it’s not the most loving and nurturing environment to be growing up in, and since she doesn’t really get her parents’ legitimate attention, she thrives for it elsewhere. Family Howard Becker
Labeling Theory One example of this that we see in the film is when Mr.Vernon comes in after catching Bender in the gym "You think he's funny? You think this is cute? You think he's bitchin', is that it? Lemme tell you something. Look at him, he's a bum. (to everybody) You wanna see something funny? You go visit John Bender in five years! You'll see how God damned funny he is! (to Bender) What's the matter, John? You gonna cry? Let's go..." (Hughes) This shows that this isnt the first it me that people have been nagging on Bender, he has had to deal with this all of his life, and not only does he let it continue, but he doesnt try to stop it. " I'm a man of respect around here. They love me around here, I'm a swell guy...you're a lying sack of shit! And everybody knows it."(Hughes) This scen that was filmed in the closet was a hint of John Bender showing the viewers that he is capable of being abetter person. When Mr.Vernon begs John to punch him he refuses, because he knows it wouldn't be right, and all Mr.Vernon could say about it was " That's what I though...you're a gutless turd!" (Hughes) Howard Becker labeling Theory states that "people become what others perceive them to be even if it was originally untrue" (Kennedy, Bridget) These people will either live up to or down to what the other people think of them due to the simpleness of this task in comparison to trying to change the way others see them. This theory is an explanation for Benders behaviors because he doesn't try to impress people and change the way they think about him. He lives down to the expectations. Even Benders father puts him down. Bender is being abused at home, so he takes all of the pain in and lets it out through acting out. When his father put him down like shown in the video earlier, Bender doesn't try to make thing better, or prove him wrong. He lives down to what others think of him , and that is what makes Bender who he is. The school is the most important agent of socialization in Brian's life. His entire world is school and when he doesn't do well on one aspect of the knowledge part, he thinks he's going to fail in life, and can't handle all the pressure. His entire life was school and when he got the "F" in shop, he failed at the "knowledge, sills, and attitudes needed for success in life" (Kennedy) Brian does have the skills for the hidden curriculum, he has respect for authority and is reliable, and cooperative. He is the only student who actually completes the essay question out of the five students in detention. Family is another important agent of socialization in Brian’s life. Throughout the movie, he talks a lot about the certain pressures he’s under to always be an outstanding academic student, as well as a good kid. At the very beginning of the film, you see him talking with his mom, who seems very disappointed in him, that he got a detention. From the tone of her voice, and what she says, it is apparent that Brian was not the kind of person who got into trouble very often.
“Brian's mom: Now is this the first time or the last time you do this to me?
Brian Johnson: Last.
Brian's mom: Now get in there and use the time to your advantage.
Brian Johnson: Mom, we're not supposed to study, we just have to sit there and do nothing.
Brian's mom: Well mister, you figure out a way to study.” (Brian)
This shows that his family plays a huge role in how much pressure he is placed under. The family is the first and most important agent of socialization (Kennedy) therefore, the influence of the paternal pressure could have been one the reasons he brought the gun to school with the intention of committing suicide. Family 4 5 6 8 Theory
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