Labeling Theory of Deviance: The Breakfast Club

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A Nine-Hour School Detention

A nine-hour school detention of five adolescents with wildly different personalities and from various social backgrounds is depicted in the comedy-drama The Breakfast Club. During the detention period, the pupils are compelled to communicate with one another, and eventually, they appear to get along. The five students—Claire, Andrew, Brian, Allison, and John—are hardly strangers to one another, but their perceptions of one another seem to have changed significantly over time. They all depart from the stereotypes that have been applied to them and demonstrate how unique they are through their actions.

Claire's Character

From the first instance, one would instantly attribute Claire’s character as that of a wealthy, famous girl that does not want to get involved with others that are not from her social class. As the most accessorized, adorned with earrings watches beautiful garments and other expensive goodies, personalizes her as the type that acknowledges money and their looks as the only way to get through obstacles in life. She seems more of a spoilt rich kid towards the audience (Michelle, Kristin, and Randy 76-77). Furthermore, at the beginning of the film, Claire blatantly refers to the other students in the room as defectives and that it was a mistake to bring her in the detention room with the others. Claire at this time only offers to speak to Andrew, who also belongs to the same social clique as her.

Alison's Silent Presence

Consequently, among the student in the room is the silent Alison. Alison’s instances of opening her mouth are as a result of either a unison laugh or a defensive assertion. Her first impression is that of a mentally disturbed person. It is quite shocking that she comes to detention by choice. Furthermore, she dresses dully in her garments having the only color black with an accompaniment of heavily-done makeup on her eyes and poorly done hair. Alison’s dull look attributes to the fact that most people around her ignore her, including her parents. Being ignored even at home certainly makes her come to detention because she doesn’t have friends also. Her uncaring attitude also appears when she removes meat from her sandwich and throws it on the statue over her shoulder.

John Bender: The Troublesome Kid

Whereas Alison is a crack head, John Bender serves as the troublesome kid from the moment you spot him. He has a domineering character trait and thrives on rebellious attitude. His mode of dressing- filthy knee-high boots, long wild hair, black gloves, an old coat, and black glasses-gives an impact to the audience that John Bender is a somewhat less careful person. Perhaps John’s grades don’t worry him, and he may at any time drop out of school. He often seems too delighted by his bad boy status among his friends and feels proud that he has something to his name.

Masked Personalities

Despite their general behavior the students in detention seem to have masked personalities and perfect examples of deviants. For Instance, through his hidden character, John breaks the societal norms (Michelle, Kristin, and Randy 76-77). John’s real personality is not that of a don’t care guy in high school as one would think. From the film, as the students start becoming comfortable with each other John Bender describes his real self through the life experiences he has undergone. One starts feeling sorry for wrongly labeling John Bender as the bad guy in the film. Bender’s life has that been of both physical and verbal abuse from his parents.

Claire and John's Unexpected Relationship

Additionally, his parents do not provide proper care for him although he is just a high school kid. He is brought up in a household marred with arguments after arguments coupled up with hostility. Another vivid description of how Bender's father burnt him using a cigar makes us shift and start having a newer approach to how we define John’s character. Alternatively, he also has a liking towards Claire, who from the above description is not of his social status.

Claire's Search for Approval

Claire symbolically, through her unusual, expensive items, represents what all John Bender has been missing in life. Although they do have a love-hate kind of chit-chat through the movie scenes, they defy the odds and enter a relationship with each other. Claire seeks guidance and approval from her friends because of her ignorant parents. Even when she gets comfortable in detention, she still seems unsettled and wants to draw attention by impressing her peers and agitates to change her traits in public. Seeking approval lands her in trouble as she is forced to skip school and go into a shopping frenzy thus ending up in the detention. Although she was resistant to taking to the rest of the students, Claire ends up talking to them as they are seen chatting sexual matters with Brian about what he was going through (Michelle, Kristin, and Randy 50-52). She further goes ahead to lend some makeup kit to Allison and groom her up to look more presentable. In the end, each of the students in the detention contributes to divergent points that help them on how one could solve individual problems through their shared feelings and stories.

Work Cited

Michelle L, Kristin A. Bates, and Randy R. Gainey. Perspectives on Deviance and Social Control. , Thousand Oaks : SAGE 2014 Publications.

April 06, 2023

Literary Genres Movies

Subject area:

Comedy Drama Movie Review

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