Psychoanalysis Of Film The Breakfast Club: John Bender

Table of Contents

The Breakfast Club

John Bender

Erik Erikson’s view

Marcia’s personality characterization

Relationships with parents and siblings

Role of Romantic Relationships and Friendships

The Breakfast Club

John Hughes’ 1985 film The Breakfast Club shows five high school students going through highschool. The teenagers are faced with difficulties which lead to Saturday detention. Each high-school student comes from a different world. John Bender, Claire, Brian, Allision, Andrew and Andrew all come from different backgrounds. The student’s supervising teacher, Mr. Richard Vernon gives them a one hundred-word essay in order to express their beliefs. Mr. Vernon, a strict teacher, is not open to students talking to one another. He even verbally acts JohnBender. The teenage drama starts once Mr. Vernon is gone. John Bender is a rebel and bullies other students. Each student eventually learns to share their secrets, which helps others see them differently. John Bender comes to us from a hard home, Claire has been pushed around by peers, Brain is contemplating suicide, Allision a compulsive lying liar, Andrew is struggling to think for himself. Students also realize they have bad relationships with their parents. They realize they have more in common with their parents and end up becoming friends.

John Bender

Five students are featured in the film, all of whom face life crises. However, John Bender is the main character. John Bender shows no respect for teachers at the beginning. Bender enjoys making people feel uncomfortable. He ridicules Andrew for wrestling, humiliates Brain’s sex, and sexually harasses Claire. He never mentions Allision but actually supports her at one point. Bender’s private life is revealed by the other detainees. He informs his classmates about his father’s addiction and abuse. His father lit a cigarette and he burns his arm. It was punishment for the paint he had poured in the garage. Bender is also shown as smart and athletic throughout the film, but he doesn’t seem to be interested in extracurricular activities. Overall, Bender is seen as the rebel within the group. However, he eventually opens up and shares his feelings.

Erik Erikson’s view

Erik Erikson defines the psychosocial crises as “individual identification versus identity confusion” during adolescence. According to the textbook this crisis is caused by bringing together all the components of the self. This includes changing perspectives on the inner world and new social demands. John Bender, in The Breakfast Club, is shown facing this crisis. Bender is depicted as a rebel and someone who picks on others. Bender is shown expressing himself to his classmates throughout the film and discovering his true self. Bender can overcome his identity crisis by talking about his feelings and being open to others. Bender finally overcomes the crisis and can instead of acting out, using drugs, set goals for the foreseeable future.

Marcia’s self-concept

The textbook discusses James Marcia’s concept of identity status. Marcia based her assessment of identity status on commitment and crisis. The “periods of role exploration, exploration, and active decision-making” are called “crisis”, while “commitment” is the “demonstration and continued personal involvement in areas such as religion, politics, or interpersonal relationships.” The text then states that Marcia’s identity classification includes identity achievement, foreclosure and moratorium. John Bender fits into the category of identity confusion in this example. The definition of identity confusion is a state that lacks commitment. This can be described as having a party mentality. These traits are consistent with Bender’s personality, which is not committed to extracurriculars or academics. Bender is also known to be a party-oriented individual, and has been seen using drugs as well as alcohol.

Although Bender is confused about his identity, he changes throughout the film and develops a new status. Claire and Bender are seen together at the end. These kinds of changes put Bender in the moratorium’s identity status. The textbook describes the moratorium as individuals who undergo exploration and experimentation to determine their roles. Bender can be seen exploring the world to find his place after he has opened up to others. John Bender starts with confusion as his identity and then becomes a moratorium.

Relationships with parents and siblings

Bender’s home was not a happy place, as we have already stated. Bender was abused by his father and an alcoholic. Bender’s addiction to drugs and delinquency is shown to have been caused by his messy family life. Bender’s father’s abuse of him emotionally, physically, and mentally is what eventually leads to his actions. To cope with his emotions, Bender bullies and disrespects others, and he also uses drugs. This conflict between Bender’s father and him is leading to rebellion. Although the conflict continues to rage, Bender’s rebellious tendencies begin to diminish after he is detained and allowed to speak to others. The film focuses on Bender’s relationship with his father. It is unclear if Bender is related to his father or siblings. It is also not clear what the relationships look like. The film doesn’t mention them, so we can assume that Bender is not affected by the siblings and mother.

Role of Romantic Relationships and Friendships

Bender has few friends at the start of the film. Bender takes pleasure in harassing and bullying others, which is why he didn’t have any friends. Bender, however, opens up to his fellow students during the film. Bender finds these students to be a way of venting. Prior to being detained, Bender was unable to talk to others about his feelings and had to be restrained. Bender can openly talk to other students and learn from his rebellious ways. Bender can also open up to Claire, the romantic relationship he has with her since detention. Claire gives him trust and security so that he can be himself. Bender can talk about his feelings and thoughts through friendships and romantic relationships.

Author

  • marthareynolds

    I'm Martha, a 27-year-old blogger, volunteer, and student. I'm a graduate of the University of Utah, where I studied communications and political science. I'm passionate about education and volunteer work, and I love spending time with my family and friends.

Comments are closed.