Essay on Film Analysis - Social Penetration Theory in the Breakfast Club

Words: 2133
Pages: 9

Social Penetration Theory in The Breakfast Club

The Social Penetration Theory, adapted by Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor, is based on the idea that people are layered like onions, (Griffin 133). These layers are made up by different things that hide an individual’s true self. One’s true self can include his or her hopes, fears, likes, dislikes, aspirations and other things that one thinks about. For individuals to become close, they must get past all of the facades and disclose their true selves to one another. In the movie The Breakfast Club, each of the main characters exemplifies this theory. At the beginning of the movie, characters Claire, John, Andrew, Allison, and Brian are each individuals who separate themselves from one
…show more content…
Unlike the others, Allison did not have to be in detention, but she says, “I didn’t have anything better to do”. Finally, there is Brian, played by Anthony Michael Hall, the brain of the group. Brian is a smart student, who has little confidence and can not handle failure. He layers his true self with his dedication to perfection in his academic career. He was unable to get a lamp he made in his shop class to work properly, so he was going to receive an F for the project. Because of this he brought a flare gun to school, in a possible a suicide attempt, which went off in his locker and earned him detention instead. Each character follows his or her respective stereotype, in order to disguise their unhappiness and discomfort with his or her own life. In the beginning of The Breakfast Club the five main characters all sit in the library at detention and begin to establish their social status. Andrew, the athlete sits with Claire, the popular girl, Brian, the nerd, is forced to move by Bender, the bully, and Allison, the basket case sits in the back silently with her head down. It is then when the audience first sees society looking down on these kids when Mr. Vernon, the principle, walks in and chides each student for his or her misbehavior that resulted in detention. At this point, all the kids know about each other are the preceding reputations that follow them. The kids have been oriented