Sixteen Candles, by John Hughes Essay example

Sixteen Candles, by John Hughes Essay example

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Director John Hughes does it again. In Sixteen Candles, he captures the essence of high school from the views of the nerds to the jocks. Depicted in the daily lives of the main characters, he shows even back in 1984, there is a division by popularity and grade. The struggles and pressures students faced are the same as what students are faced with in today’s high schools. This movie relates to teens year after year, generation after generation. Just as the author William Zinsser states in College Pressures, “They are too young to be prisoners of their parents’ dreams and their classmates’ fears” (385). Hughes is able to capture this through the eyes of high school students and the pressures they feel.
High school sophomore, Samantha Baker woke up on the morning of her sixteenth birthday, hoping for an overnight transformation. While on the phone with her best friend, she stares at herself in the mirror, praying she had grown a few inches and a set of boobs. Much to avail, she has not and her day goes on just like every other one. She has the added pressure of being a bridesmaid for her older sister Ginny’s wedding, the next day. After being felt up by Grandmother Baker, Samantha deals with the ridicule and torment of her annoying little brother and takes the bus to school. During her study hall class she takes a silly quiz another friend had given her. The quiz ends up in the hands of her crush, Jake Ryan! The anxiety sets in.
Jake Ryan, the wealthy, handsome, senior, stud, is living the dream, at his suburban high school. He is dating the prom queen, Caroline Mulford. Together they are the power couple that everyone wants to be and is envious of. But, Jack feels the pressure to continue to d...


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...sure of having a perfect wedding. They are all dealing with different types of pressure. Economic pressure sees to affect only a few of the characters in the movie. But they all struggle with self-induced pressure and mainly peer pressure. Hughes is able to capture the emotions and feeling of the students and what they deal with during their high school years. That is why this movie spans the test of time. Everyone has been one of these characters during their teen years. Whether you were the Farmer Ted or the Jake Ryan, the Caroline or the Samantha Baker, we all have had to deal with the pressures of high school and John Hughes did a fantastic job illustrating all the sides of high school students.




Works Cited
Zinsser, William. “College Pressure.” The Norton Reader. 13th ed. Ed. Linda H. Peterson. New York: Norton, 2013. 380-388. Print

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