How does ‘The Breakfast Club’ depict the separation of social groups in high school?

‘The Breakfast Club’ cleanly outlines the stereotypes surrounding high school and social groups, a factor very hard to miss whilst watching. It portrays each of the five characters to be as different from one another as humanly possible, separating them from their academic abilities, to the clothes on their backs.

In my opinion, the film depicted this aspect to be a negative trait that came along with high school. It was evident the 5 wanted to be friends, but were clearly being held back by an invisible weight of social standards and peer judgment. The separation of social groups is depicted almost as an unwritten law, and as punishment for breaking it, you are made an outcast, someone who no longer ‘belongs’. Each of the five come from a different group, and against the odds of clashing personalities and high tensions, they form a friendship stronger than any have had previously. At the end of the day, they are expected to give that up in an attempt to conform to the corrupt and intimating word of a high schoolers life. If they choose to still be friends on the following Monday or go their separate is information frustratingly withheld from the viewer. I’m all for knowing what happens, but I suppose this is John Hughes bringing the audience into the film. We are expected to draw upon our own experiences from high school and our knowledge revolving around social pressures and expectations, and judge whether the strength of that friendship could withstand that amount of pressure.

The separation of social groups was extremely stereotypical, but needed to be that way in order to be depicted as such an important and relevant issue for a high schooler. The fact that their characters were so exaggerated added to the way the film depicted the separation. It forced the characters to hate before they could love, and added to the dramatic coming together of the students.

‘The Breakfast Club’ is a slightly exaggerated depiction of high school, but effortlessly coveys the negative aspects the separation of social groups in high school, and how easily the thoughts of others can hold you back


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