Healing myths in the Breakfast club
Anyone who has ever attended high school can instantly relate to the word “Bully”, whether its memories of being bullied by someone or being the bully yourself. Everyone knows to look out for him, but for the most part, once you have been picked to be the one being bullied, you might as well paint a bull’s-eye on your back. John Bender’s character does precisely that, he’s not exactly friendly with everyone else in the group, but his main target throughout the movie is Claire. The “popular girl” is John’s favorite target because of her lifestyle and upbringing, which reminds him of all the things that are wrong with his life.
While picking on Claire, at times he shows some feelings for her but they are mixed in with his general angst towards her. Even with the anger and constant rude remarks towards Claire, John’s character finally “heals” to portray his real feelings towards her in the end.
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If one had to portray a bully, John’s character perfectly sets the mould for it. He is instantly hated by the entire group the moment he starts speaking to them because of his general attitude towards everyone. He shows no respect for authority as he starts destroying school property the moment he steps foot into the class room.
He has an air of reckless carelessness about him which he portrays through his body language and attire. He makes it very clear to everyone present that he is not looking to make any friends and begins to berate and pick on Claire’s character, whom he has feelings for. John starts to open up to the group when he reveals his life at home with an abusive father who once burned a cigar on his arm for a simple mistake. But, after Andy’s character calls him out as a liar who is making up the story as part of his charade, he once again shuts everyone down but not before showing the cigar burn he received from his father.
During the course of the movie, while harassing Claire for all the things that he hates about her, he starts to portray his likeness for her as he tries to bond with her in his own way as he talks to her about all the girl friends he’s had. At the end John lashes out at Claire for having a perfect life only to find out that her life isn’t all that different from his in terms of their parents and as the realization sets in, he eases up on Claire. At that point, the healing myth for John’s character finally starts to show as Claire follows him back to where he was locked.
At the end film, Claire is seen giving her diamond earring to John which he had picked at her for as a sign of her affection towards him as they share a goodbye kiss. The healing myth with John’s character makes one wonder as to whether his aggression towards everyone is an outlet for the treatment he receives from his family, and if that is the case, then maybe before punishing a bully, maybe one should try to understand the root of his aggression.