The Breakfast Club (1984)



In the movie, five students are locked up in the library for detention, with each in it for a different reason. The brain, the princess, the criminal the basket case and the jock put aside their differences and survive nine hour detention where they speak out to each other about their home lives and cliques (Blessing & Blessing, 2015). They had nothing to say at the beginning but had walked out of the library as friends.

The main five characters in the movie are; John, Claire, Brian, Allison and Andrew, described as the criminal, the princess, the brain, the basket case and the athlete respectively. The five students arrive for an all-day detention on Saturday, march 1984 at Shermer high school in Shermer, Illinois (Honeycut, 2015). They hail from different clique and they appear to share nothing. They meet in the school, library where they are instructed by the deputy principal not to speak or sleep until 3.00 release time, but instead write a thousand word essays about who they thought they were. The deputy principal leaves them come comes occasionally to check on them.

John bender is in an antagonistic relationship with the deputy principal and ignores his rules and decides to rile up other students in detention, teasing Brain and Andre and harassing Claire. The quiet Allison occasionally outbursts. Bender is given additional detention covering the weekends and escapes being locked in a storage closet and returns to the library. The students talk, argue and smoke marijuana retrieved by Bender from his locker (Honeycut, 2015). They eventually start talking to each other revealing their personal secrets. According the revelations, Allison is a liar, Andrew is not inspired, Bender has an abusive household, Brain is planning suicide with a flare gun sine he can’t take his bad grades anymore and Claire is a virgin being piled on pressure by friends to change that (Blessing & Blessing, 2015). They realize that they have more in common as all of them have issues with their respective parents which are the cause behind all their personal grievances that led to the mistakes they committed to end up in detention. Allison is ignored by her parents due to their won problem, Andrew’s parents criticize his wrestling efforts, and Bender’s father physically and verbally abuses him.

Friendship among the five builds up with the passing of time with Claire giving Allison a makeover to show how beautiful she is, a fact that sparks romantic interest in Andrew. Claire decides to kiss Bender as a way of breaking her pristine virgin look (Brown, 2013).

As the detention nears its end, the detainees convince Brain to draft a group essay as John goes back to the storage closet to fool the deputy principal. Andrew and Allison kiss as they disperse (Bulman, 2015). Claire and bender follow suit with Allison ripping Andrew’s state championship patch from the letterman jacket and keeps it. Claire gives bender one of her diamond earrings which he attaches to his earlobe. The deputy principal reads the essay that Brain put down, and states that the deputy principal has already judged them using simple definitions and stereotypes. All the students acknowledge that they have a lot in common. Brain signs the letter as the breakfast club.


Identity is the main theme in the movie as the film brings into focus the identity struggles of Americans. It focuses on the daily issues teenagers go through and the pressures piled on them to fit into their own realms of high school social constructs, parental , authorities and teachers’ lofty expectations,

At face value, the students appear to have nothing in common but with the rolling of the day, they realize they unite at their predicaments and they bond over a common disdain for issues of parental expectations and peer pressure (Bulman, 2015).

Another theme recurrent in the film is stereotyping. The students struggle and break the stereotypes and empathize worth the struggles of each other, and throw out their earlier judgments of each other

The main adult character, the deputy principal Mr. Vermont is portrayed in a positive light as he talks down to the students and flaunts his authority throughout the film. Bender is the only one that stands up to the deputy principal.

Cognitive advancement

In detention, five ostensibly learn a lot about their true and perceived identities after learning that they share a lot of characteristics expressed indifferently owing to the different strengths, weaknesses and experiences that have gave them the perceived identities held. John is brought out in the movie as a criminal and Allison a Psychopath. In detention, they argue and hate each other but pour their hearts out to each other after smoking marijuana.

All students in the movie are adolescents. All of them undergo cognitive development, socioemotional; stress and moral development challenges. John’s cognitive development as an adolescent develops the ability to think and reason systematically and scientifically and abstract. Developmental level plays a major role in the movie on different levels, social, physical, cognitive and moral. They all depict a stereotypical student (Brown, 2013). Social development in the movie takes place among the teens in the nine hour detention without teacher-led instructions.

Social development is the most apparent in the movie with students being remolded. This is shown when the film refers to all of them as the brain, the basket case, the criminal, the princess and the athlete. This is as a result of social. Interactions resulting from the surrounding culture serve to dictate the role played by each character. The students in the beginning of the movie appear to be contented with the social status they represent, as shown when Claire and Andrew acknowledge that they are in the same upper social standing and sit at the same table I the detention library, while all others sit alone. They however show social development as the movie continues when they discuss their reasons for ending up in detention (Blessing & Blessing, 2015). This sets stage for self-evaluation an analysis of each of their social standings. They make a social shift after this realization as Allison switches her appearance to be more mainstream, Claire shows her rebellious side and bender shows his emotional side by spending time with Claire. They morph into the people they would have been if the culture around each had not dictated who they should be.

The students as they are at the beginning of the movie represent social segregation that takes place in institutions an instead agree to integrate into one group. The students on ordinary days wouldn’t have been in the company of each other. This kind of segregation among the five social groups is unprecedented to the group and is shown when Brain asks, ‘what happens Monday’ indicating that the social segregation and social rules are going to come back to practice after school resumes. The students spend their entire school day trying to overcome social status


The movie brings out four types of parenting; uninvolved, authoritative, permissive and authoritarian. Each parenting has ostensibly different influences on the behavior of children. Success in school is also affected by culture. Inconsistent parenting approach is detrimental on the side of students as they don’t know what to expect. This paper identifies each character in the movie to depict a specific style of parenting they represent and how differently these students develop.

Authoritarian approach is characterized by little warmth and stern hegemony. Parents formulate rules that must be followed without questioning disregardful of children’s wishes and needs. This approach seeks to instill respect, hard work and obedience in children. In the movie, Brain Johnson ‘the brain’ parents are authoritarian parents. When his mother dropped him off at school, she scolded and shouted instead of giving him a chance to make an excuse. She even yelled to him that ‘this is the first and last time you do this’. In her child situation, she only could think of blaming him of getting in trouble. His mother even asked him to get in school and use and use the time to his advantage whole he was in detention. He tried to give an excuse for not having time to study, but her mother did not listen.

Authoritative parenting style has elements of fairness and control =, warmth and responsiveness. Parents explain rules to children in a discussion. It cultivates independence, autonomy, self-confidence and self-control. This form of parenting style is identified by Andrew Clark ‘the athlete’ authoritative parents because his dad explained that getting into trouble is ok since man messed up around and no school won’t give anyone scholarship to a discipline case. His dad controlled him with fair explanation along with the story of hi messing around at school.

Permissive parents are warm and caring with little control. They accept their children’s demeanor and punish them rarely. They are not punitive, but loving. Their children lack independence and are selfish. They can also be impulsive, irresponsible and aggressive. This parenting is identified by Claire Standish ‘the princess’ parents. She is acting like ruined-princess who got everything she wanted because he father got her everything she wanted. When she got dropped off, she whined about not getting her out of detention, even though she whined about being absurd and detention, her father said nothing but looked at her daughter’s whining with full of love.

Uninvolved parents are not indulged in molding their children as they provide no control or warmth but only basic needs. They spend little time with their children and avoid excessive emotional attachment (Blessing & Blessing, 2015).

Two characters from the movie are raised by uninvolved parents, namely Allison Reynolds-the basket case and John Bender-the criminals (Bulman, 2015). Both of their parents do not even care about what is going on in their lives. They are pushed aside and this makes them totally different from other students. John misbehaved with the teacher and thus failed to learn respect. He chose his own way and yet ended up becoming a criminal by placing a fake gun in his locker since he lacks parental control. He is not even dropped off at school by the parents, but rather walks himself to school.

Allison’s parents drop her off but drive off as soon as she alights. This shows that the parents are the uninvolved kind. Her personality is a bit strange to anyone else. She did not talk to other students in detention room. She simply states that her home life is unsatisfying. Accordingly there are many sugar types of food in her lunch box, meaning that her health is not so much of a concern to the parents. She tosses the meat and pours sugar over her sandwich as she often does what she likes since her parents do not care much (Brown, 2013).

Each character in the movie exemplifies the positive and negative outcomes associate with the parenting style used by their parents. For those raised by authoritative parents have positive outcomes. They also have internalized moral and academic standards superior to that f other children from authoritarian and permissive backgrounds. This is depicted in Andrew’s behaviors. The ‘princess’ Claire received whatever she wanted and had a ruined personality as a result since she was raised by an unindulgent father. This exemplifies the possible outcome of permissive parenting style. Brain’ the Brain’ felt like he was a victim of authoritarian parents who disciplined their son without warmth. Those raised by uninvolved parents usually felt themselves as pathetic and unvalued human beings. They therefore do not care about other people’s opinions and judgment. Allison and john exemplified these outcomes as they are raised by uninvolved parents.

Timing of puberty

The adolescence age is the transitional stage between adulthood and childhood. This development is psychological and biological in pursuit of independence.

Brian is subject to stereotypes throughout the film. He has a balanced diet lunch and bender mocks for calling him a child whose loving mother packs lunch for. He is referred to as a ‘brain’ that would write a group essay for everyone. He was also facing peer pressure when he was influenced to smoke marihuana with the rest of the group. These judgments by fellow detainees and lack of independence make him an early boy at maturation.

Claire portrays reciprocal determinism. She has divorced parents fighting over her. Home treatments influence her thoughts, behavior, internal cognition, feelings and environment. Her behavior is described by Brian as prod and full of herself since she despises those she believes to be under her social status. Her behavior, thoughts and environment all contribute to her personality. This qualifies her as an average girl.

Bender is misjudged as he is described as aggressive, freeloading and disrespectful being a fundamental attribution error victim. He is treated badly at home with verbal and physical abuse and fends for himself. He desires Brain as a young child under the mother’s love; this qualifies him as a late boy in maturation.

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