The Breakfast Club was a movie about five very different characters, Claire, Andrew, Brian, Allison, and John Bender. Claire was a popular girl, Andrew was a wrestler (jock), Brian was intellectually gifted, Allison was a basket case, and John Bender was a rebel. On the outside they seem like very different people, in fact they were all socially opposite, but they also shared so much.
As the movie starts out, the five teenagers are being punished with Saturday detention; their assignment for the next eight hours was to right a paper entitled Who Am I? Their most probable assumption was from them to write about their achievements. Being students in America, we are all raised to excel at whatever we do, whether it be at grades, wrestling, or being popular. Since they judged themselves by what they do and achieve, their self-identities depend upon their achievements, (Kimball and Leidich page three). This leads to competitiveness, envy, jealously, and greed. Bender was jealous of Claire social status and of her leading a better life and to react to that he yelled at her and over-exaggerated the truth. He judged her by material possessions (earrings) and by social standings (prom queen), and he judged himself against her and that led to him wanting what she has (earrings and virginity). First he tried being more competitive with her by calling her names and putting her down so that he could seem higher and cooler than her. Then he became envious and jealous of her, wanting what she had. This two then lead to greed. Fortunately for the both of them, they got beyond the achievements and fell in love. They learned to judge each other by the quality of their relationships and their lives. On the outside, Andrew thought that Brian had a pretty good life. He had both good, loyal friends and great grades, something he could possibly be envious of. It appears that Brian had great friends that did not judge him for what he did, but who he was. Brian wanted to hang out with the cool people, but he knew his social class. Possibly, he used a flare gun to kill himself because he felt that was the way his clique functioned and that would make his death more appealing to the popular. Alison felt that she needed someone to talk to. This is why she showed up. She was ignored by her parents and probably felt that anyone was good enough to talk to. Fortunately, she found Andrew, a man who would not give up on her and this is exactly what she wanted. So, naturally, she fell in love with him. Perhaps the one quality that unites everyone is that they all have trouble with their parents. Claires problem is that she is used as a weapon to the other spouse of her parents and the only way she can escape that destiny is to be with friends as much as possible, liking going to the mall and doing other stuff that she has built up in her mind of being cool. Bender was hated by his parents and probably was an accident. The way his parents treated him built up this image of himself in his mind that was negative; and therefore, made him negative. Brian was pushed to over achieve by his parents and so when he finally got an F he thought that it was the end of the world, when in fact he most likely doesnt care. He does not think for himself, he thinks, What are my parents going to think? Andrew thinks the same way. He stated openly that he does not care if he wins or loses, and that he sometimes wishes that his leg would give so that he would not have to wrestle anymore. Last, Alison was ignored by her parents; forcing her to think that everyone must ignore her.
All of the characters in the movie show fear of rejection. Andrew, fearing rejection from his father, hurt another student mentally and physically because he believed that what his father would want. Brian shows the fear of rejection also in that he thinks that his F would make his family not love him anymore. His parents probably do love him, and would just be disappointed in him. Claire shows fear of rejection by trying to be the coolest that she could be. By putting on a mask, the worse that she thinks she could do is have the mask rejected. She also thinks that since she is high up on the social hierarchy, she could say what she wants and people will listen and believe. Unfortunately, she was rejected when she said that Brians friend look up to her. Alison shows fear of rejection by not trying friendships at all, figuring that if she never tries, she will never be rejected. Last, Bender shows fear of rejection also with the why try attitude, thinking that if he died, no one would miss him.
Almost everyone showed a fear of failure also. Brian and Andrew covered their fear with over achieving. Brian would work all day to get the highest grade possible and Andrew worked hard, hoping that something he can not avoid would happen (like his knee giving). Alison tried to hide from failure by not trying, thinking that she couldnt fail if she does not try.
In the beginning of the movie everyone showed a fear of pain and suffering. When John showed his cigarette burn that his father gave him, everyone ignored it and was quiet. Alison got over this fear when she dumped her bag on the couch for Brian and Andrew to see. If she did not want them to talk with her, then she would not have done that. Then Andrew saw the invitation and talked with her about her problems. Last, Claire and John talked their problems out, found out how similar they were and fell in love.
A few people had a slab of concrete. Claires slab of concrete was her popularity. This made her conceited and made her think that she was higher than everyone else. Brians slab of concrete was his grades. He judged himself by grades and when he finally did bad, he thought and was going to commit suicide. Alisons slab of concrete was her purse, which gave her the sense that she could leave at any time. Andrew and Bender did not have a true slab of concrete. Andrew feels bad because he did what his father wanted him to do (supposedly). Bender did not have a slab of concrete because he was a free soul, not caring about authority or others peoples opinions.
Practically everyone pays the cost of belonging. Claire probably wants to hang out with Bender but because of the conditions of her clique, she cant. Andrews cost of belonging was that he couldnt think for himself. When he did, he liked Brian and Alison, but his clique requirement is probably not to be involved with them. Brians relationships dont have a cost of belonging; he and any new friends are probably welcomed all the time without a requirement. Bender, though he does not admit it, has a cost of belonging also. His friends would reject Brian in fear of him telling or something along that line. Claire told him that even his clique had requirements. She said that he if they were saw by his friends walking down the hallway, he would say that hes having sex with her.
I thought that he film helped a lot with the text. Without the movie, the material would be very dry and hard to understand. The movie gave examples of everything so far in the text. It gave examples of the hierarchy of needs (like Bender still needing safety need before belongingness and love); the types of fear (rejection with Claire and a mask; failure with Brian and overachieving; and pain and suffering with Andrew and his making fun of and torturing the innocent); last, addiction with Bender and Alison with the way they are always, at school and at home.