The Breakfast Club : Interpersonal Concepts Essay

The Breakfast Club : Interpersonal Concepts Essay

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The Breakfast Club demonstrates the interpersonal concepts “I-It” and “I-Thou” as it follows students whose immediate reaction is to treat each other as nothing more than the stereotypical person their titles assume them to be; however, as the film progresses and the characters begin to develop friendships, the characters abandon the stereotypes and begin to look at each other as individuals who have unique personalities and stories.
In the film The Breakfast Club, five students attending Shermer High School are placed in Saturday detention by Vice Principal Vernon. Gradually, the teenagers learn that they are more similar than previously thought. The students have different backgrounds, creating the labels and stereotypes assumed of them. Allison Reynolds, “The Basket Case” is treated as the strange one because she keeps to herself; Andrew Clark, “The Athlete” is viewed as the stereotypical school jock; Claire Standish, “The Princess” is seen as the rich daddy’s girl who is part of the popular group in their school; Brian Johnson, “The Brain” is thought of as a nerd who strives for nothing less than an A; and John Bender, “The Criminal” is viewed as the bad boy of the school who challenges authority and is misunderstood by his peers, the faculty members, and his family (The Breakfast Club).” At the start of their time together, all of the characters take each other at face-value, placing each other in stereotypical categories and treating them as such. But as the film goes on, they slowly begin to become more acquainted which each other’s background and personality.
Within the plot, the viewer is shown several prime examples of I-It relationships; “an “I-It” relationship [is described] as an impersonal one, in which the othe...


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...acters learn about each other’s backgrounds, they begin to see each other as authentic and unique individuals; coming to the realization that they each face their own social and familial struggles.
Overall, multiple examples of both “I-It” and “I-Thou” relationships can be found throughout the film. The “I-Thou” relationships between the students change during the movie, allowing them to build a strong friendship built on mutual respect. However, the “I-It” teacher/student relationship between Vernon and the students does not change. The failure for this relationship to evolve illustrates how humans make assumptions and label one another before getting to know each other’s personalities and personal issues. In order for a relationship to become “I-Thou” people need learn how to respect one another, realizing that there is more to a person than what meets the eye.

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