High School Stereotypes In John Hughes's The Breakfast Club

1023 Words 5 Pages
The Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes, displays that stereotypes do not define an individual because each person is far deeper than their outer shells show. He delves into the importance of external and internal identity by introducing five different characters, each embodying a specific high school stereotype. All five students are seen by others ‘in the simplest of terms’ and by the most convenient definitions. As the film progresses each character realizes that they are more complex than their stereotypes. Brian Johnson, known as the brain of the group, possesses an external identity that shows an exuberant and ambitious student while concealing the hardships he faces including self-acceptance and approval from others. More often …show more content…
He is seen as the typical antisocial nerd with braces and ordinary clothing. Unlike the other students he shows a significant amount of respect to Mr. Vernon. Likewise, he is seen as the golden student with a bright future ahead of him. This is evident in the film when John Bender imitates his perception of Brian’s home life, ridiculing what his ‘perfect family’ would sound like. As this scene progresses, Brian attempts to break up a fight between John Bender and Andrew Clarke. Neither considers Brian’s point, effectively ignoring him. John goes to the point of referring to Brian as every parent 's dream. In both of these instances, Brian doesn’t take Bender’s words and actions too seriously; however, as the scene progresses the concern and uneasiness starts to show. Hughes shows the viewer that Brian’s internal identity is masked by the stereotypes of his external identity. His peers see him as the perfect student with no issues with his parents. It is apparent that Brian’s external identity heavily affects his relations with other people. He is not taken seriously by Andrew, Bender or Claire Standish. An individual’s external identity is critical to the way people perceive them; consequently many are influenced by others perspectives of themselves. This issue is very prevalent for Brian as he struggles with accepting and being himself over the course of the …show more content…
As a group they realize, despite being portrayed in different ways, all of them share similarities. They share similar problems, regarding their stereotype and personal issues such as self-acceptance and approval from others. After spending the day bonding, everyone accepts each other and themselves as individuals not defined by generalizations. They realize, self-acceptance is far more important than the generalizations others make of them. As the film reaches the end, Brian reconsiders his beliefs, realizing that failure is a part of life. He understands that getting an F in shop class does not warrant committing suicide. Despite having differing internal and external identities at the beginning of the film, Brian comes to terms with himself, showcasing the character he truly is. He understands that failure is part and of life, and regardless of his marks, his stereotype will allow him to be seen among the smartest. This is evident in the last few scenes of the film; Claire wants Brian to write the essay Mr.Vernon gave them even after learning about Brian’s failure in shop class. Despite being hesitant at first, Brian’s willingness to complete the essay for his peers indicates a level of self-confidence he lacked earlier in the film. It is apparent that the events that unfolded during detention helped Brian develop as a

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