Analysis Of The Breakfast Club

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Brian Johnson, or the “Brain,” in the movie The Breakfast Club, possess thought processes evident in Piaget’s Formal Operational Period stage in his theory of cognitive development. During Piaget’s Formal Operational Period, people begin to “apply their mental operations to abstract concepts in addition to concrete objects;” their thinking is hypothetical, systematic, reflective and logical (Weiten, 448). Brian asks himself existential questions like “Who do I think I am? Who are you? Who are you?” as he brainstorms Mr. Vernon’s assignment for the students in detention; these thoughts are abstract. His thought processes are also logical since he’s extremely intelligent; being part of the math, Latin and physics club requires some advanced thinking skills. Additionally, he understands how concrete applications like engineering stem from abstract concepts like Trigonometry. He also reasoned that if he took a class like Shop that “dopes” take, he could pass that class easily to maintain his GPA; such reasoning requires complex thinking. Finally, his thinking is reflective, especially when he ponders the permanence of the Breakfast Club’s friendship and describes how he steps outside himself to analyze what he sees. Unfortunately, when he observes himself, he’s highly critical and despises his “true” self; he possess a highly negative view of himself, labeling himself a failure, eventually leading to suicidal thoughts and actions.
Brian represents the Conventional Level of

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