Breakfast Club Analysis
The well-known song “Don’t You Forget about Me” plays at the end of the movie The Breakfast Club, signaling not only the end of the famous movie, but also the end of the transitory group that had developed in the earlier scenes. Although movie was released over twenty years ago, high school students today can still use the labels that are examined in the movie to identify themselves in the cruel world they call high school. With the final lines “you see us as you want to see us…In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions,” the point of the movie finally becomes apparent; stereotypes are not accurate representations of teenagers, but instead they accurately represent who teenagers think they are.
There is no doubt that students all come with labels; it is inevitable. But whether a student is a brain, a jock or a princess, they are all greatly impacted by the stereotypes and boundaries that are a part of each of their social groups. To teenagers, being a part of a social group is huge, as portrayed in The Breakfast Club. As soon as the movie starts, viewers can decipher the cliques that each student is in. When the students are being dropped off, viewers assume which cliques each student is in by their appearances, how they respond to their parents, and how they react to coming to school on a Saturday.
The most important identification of each student’s clique is seen by where they sit in the library. Much like the school cafeteria today, the students sat where they felt comfortable. In this case, it was away from everyone else in the room, with the exception of Andrew and Claire who were already in similar social groups and had similar friends. Bender eventually approaches the topic of the students’ separate cliques by asking Andrew, “Do you think I’d speak for you? I don’t even know your language.”
The students, while all in similar situations have trouble effectively communicating because they do not really know each other. This proves how drastically different teenagers are from those not included in their immediate friend group. Humans in general, especially teenagers, are greatly influenced by their peers and the activities that their peers participate in. This means that they are also largely impacted by the stereotypes that are associated with their cliques and social groups.
Stereotypes change who teenagers think they are based upon what others are saying about them. Being forced into a role can completely change who a person is or how someone acts. For example, Andrew felt genuinely bad about taping together Larry Lester’s butt cheeks, but he was influenced by his friends and by the expectations that he thought his father had for him. These expectations can drastically impact how teenagers treat one another. At the end of the movie, the boundaries outlined earlier in the film are semi-broken. Although, Claire tells Bender that she hates her friends, she remains friends with them because she does not feel like she would belong in another clique.
The boundaries that are formed from the very beginning, such as the language each teenager uses or the lunches that they have, are finally broken when Allison takes the varsity letter off of Andrew’s jacket and when Claire gives Bender her earring. Although neither of these actions is huge, and none of the students will leave their prior friend group, they are beginning to break the boundaries that separated them in the first place. And though the breakfast club may never speak to each other again, they have developed a greater sense of understanding for each other and the cliques that they are all in.
While Brian, Allison, Bender, Claire, and Andy may never talk to each other again, they may reconsider how they treat someone in a different social group than them or how they perceive someone who is different than them. The cliques are still going to exist, yet the students will be able to see others for who they really are, not for who others think they should be. Whether a student is impacted directly by their friends and peers, or by the boundaries that tie them to a specific group, the fact that there mindset is shifted by these pressures is unavoidable.