Film Analysis - Social Penetration Theory in the Breakfast Club

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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
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There are five main characters in The Breakfast Club. Claire, played by Molly Ringwald, is the rich snob of the group. She is characterized as being very self-centered and conceited. She is in detention because she skipped classes to go shopping one afternoon. Claire puts on a façade that she has a great familial and social life, but in actuality, she is upset with her family and unsure about her friends. The bully of the group is John (Bender), who is played by actor Judd Nelson. Bender is a person who has a lot of issues with himself, which he masquerades with a tough guy exterior, dry humor and sarcasm. Bender ended up in detention because he set off a fire alarm. Another member of The Breakfast Club is Andrew, played by actor Emilio Estevez. Andrew is the jock of the group and on the surface it seems that he is only concerned with pleasing his father and coaches by winning. In actuality, Andrew has a lot of anger and resentment towards his father, coach and himself, because of the person he is becoming. Because he pulled a cruel prank on a classmate, he has ended up in detention. Allison, played by Ally Sheedy, is the emotional basket case of the group. Though she does not speak for the first half of the film, when she finally does start talking, she does not stop. Throughout her conversations in the movie, Allison is covering up her true self, with the lies and embellishments

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