The Breakfast Club By John Hughes

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Directed by John Hughes, The Breakfast Club is a film that portrays the social conflicts students face during high school. Set in Shermer, Illinois five students attend detention on a Saturday and are required to write an essay about themselves and “who they think they are” (The Breakfast Club). Over the length of the day the five students, who are all extremely different, become closer. They become closer by talking, breaking the rules, and standing up for each other. By the end of the movie the students have written one essay breaking the stereotypes they fit in to. These stereotypes they have received are, the “athlete,” “princess,” “criminal,” “brain,” and “basket case.” According to Kathryn Feltey and Jean-Anne Sutherland, “when stereotypes are expressed, they are reinforced, and thus validated. Validation solidifies attitudes that suggest how certain individuals and groups should be treated” (104). This is true in The Breakfast Club with the actions of the students. When looking closer at the last scene of The Breakfast Club, we can see the presence of social stereotypes in film. The mis-en-Scene of The Breakfast Club shows the different groups the students belong in and the stereotypes associated with these groups. Through costumes it becomes apparent that the characters fit into their stereotypes they have been given. The “athlete” (Andrew) wears a letterman jacket along a Nike shirt to show off. By wearing the Nike shirt, he is showing off because it is a popular, expensive brand. The “princess” (Claire) wears a pink sweater and a skirt. She is very stylish and put in a great deal of effort getting ready to go to detention on a Saturday. This shows that she cares what others think of her. The “basket case,” (Allison) wh... ... middle of paper ... ...ends is slim. Outside influences will greatly affect the length of their friendships. Brian said in the letter “you see us as you want to see us” (The Breakfast Club). It is others who will decide if they will stay friends. In Cinematic Sociology Feltey and Sutherland say “stereotypes operate by gathering certain traits and assembling them into a particular image” (99). According to this quote people grow into their stereotypes and dress and behave accordingly. To completely overcome stereotypes will take a tremendous amount of effort and this movie as a whole can serve as a starting place. In addition to stereotypes and gender issues this movie contains family issues. All the students feel pressure from their parents to either be the smartest, fastest, prettiest, etc. The Breakfast Club is a quintessential film that everyone that attended high school can relate to.
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