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The Breakfast Club Essay

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Neima Prabhakar

English 8 CP

Period 2


A Misleading Exterior

In the film, The Breakfast Club (1985), John Bender, the slovenly rebel at Shermer High School in Chicago, is serving a Saturday detention with four very different students. Right from the beginning, Bender exhibits the qualities of a destructive and thoughtless criminal, i.e., he taunts everyone else in order to hide his personal inadequacies. Whenever Bender is questioned by his peers about a personal issue, or whenever he cannot provide a clear answer to a question, he--albeit defensively-- responds in a facetious and irritated manner. Bender demonstrated this when Andrew Clark, the "sporto", told him that he did not count, and that "if [he] disappeared forever it wouldn't make any difference." Distraught from Andrew's blunt comment, Bender sarcastically retorted, "Well, I'll just run right out and join the wrestling team..." As time goes on, Bender slowly sheds his rough attitude and starts opening up his true self to the other students.

At first, Bender is a crude ruffian, who no one respects, particularly Mr. Richard Vernon, the disciplinarian at the high school. When all of the students arrive in the library for their detention, Bender--showing no respect for Vernon's rules--is the first to communicate with the rest of them. Bender continually proposes tempting, yet unlawful things to do. However, the other students, who dislike Bender, refuse to listen. As soon as Mr. Vernon leaves the gives the students an essay assignment and departs, Bender becomes very obnoxious. He exhibits his envy and lack of respect towards Claire Standish, a popular girl from a rich family, by referring to her in a profane manner, "Hey [Brian], why don't you close that door... we'll get the prom queen impregnated!" In addition, when Mr. Vernon dashes into the room and accuses Bender of vandalism, he denies everything, and indignantly responds "Eat my shorts." Infuriated, Vernon assigns Bender numerous detentions; he does not care, and is more concerned with impressing the other students.

In spite the many caveats and punishments, Bender attempts to uphold his invincible image by deliberately disobeying Mr. Vernon's rules. Bender had casually invited the other students to accompany him to his locker, where he collected his illegal stash of marijuana. Upon their return to the library, all of the kids were trapped by a barred exit. Surprisingly, Bender risked getting himself into more trouble by darting sonorously through the corridors, to distract Mr. Vernon; thus allowing the other students to surreptitiously return to the library--showing an interest in the well being of the other students. Consequently, when Bender was caught and forced back to the designated area, Mr. Vernon angrily remarked to the other students "You think he's funny? Look at him, he's a bum!" This was the first situation in which Bender pondered Vernon's words, and showed compunction for his actions.

Having undermined Mr. Vernon's authority, Bender is placed in a small storage closet for the remainder of the detention, where he becomes very vulnerable after being verbally assaulted by Mr. Vernon. Bender



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