Psychological Analysis of Characters in Breakfast Club

Pages: 5 (1403 words) Published: May 25, 2015
Tom Bergamo
AP Psychology
Mrs. Theis
9 February 2015
Breakfast Club Essay

1. The character Allison Reynolds in the film The Breakfast Club exhibits Piaget’s formal operational thinking. The formal operational begins at the age of 12 and continues into adulthood, this stage also involves abstract thinking and moral reasoning. Teenagers are able to understand concepts and ideas on a more thought provoking level, with an emotional connection. Allison exhibits abstract thinking as an artist throughout the film. Although she is depicted as being strange and different, she is truly an abstract thinker. For example, when she draws a picture of an outdoor landscape during detention, she scratches her head to create dandruff to represent snow. Yes it is pretty disgusting, it is a good example of abstract thinking. A person in concrete operational thinking would have simply drawn snow in the picture, instead of creating it as Allison did. Allison also exhibited formal operational thinking during the scene when the students were smoking pot. Allison is the only student who is not seen smoking marijuana, which shows that she was strong in her morals and was able to make the formal operational decision to not participate although the other students were smoking. And lastly Allison uses the fabricated story of her shrink to manipulate Claire into saying that she is a virgin in front of the group.

2. The Character John Bender appears to be between stage one and stage two of Kohlberg’s preconventinal level of moral reasoning. these two stages are the pre-conventional morality, and the conventional morality.in the pre-coneventional stage the child may have had an upbringing where the child would only be punished or rewarded for the behavior seen by the parents. For example if a child steals a toy on the playgrounfd, and does not get caught or introuble for doing so the child will think it is ok. Throughout the film, Bender has no sense of authority and seems to thrive on rule breaking. He appears to have no morals or reasoning behind his actions. He thinks that he can misbehave during detention so long as he is not see by Mr. Vernon. The preconventinal stages one and two state that morals do not exist and behavior is chosen only by the threat of punishment. Bender exhibits this when he shuts the doors and removes the screws so that Mr. Vernon cannot see the kids misbehaving in detention. He thinks that because he will not be seen, it is okay to break the rules. His actions are not caused by any moral reasoning or higher purpose, other than the selfish desire to misbehave.

3. Throughout the film, character Brian Johnson appears to be in the stage of role confusion as opposed to identity. Brian carries constant pain and pressure thrust upon him by his parents and this cannot determine his own identity beyond succeeding in school. He appears to be carrying baggage from the “industry vs. inferiority” stage based on his accounts of his parents’ harsh critiques and judgments whenever he fails to make the grade. Because of this, whenever Brian does poorly in school, he views it as a reflection on himself and views himself as lesser because of it. Brian Johnson found himself in detention that infamous Saturday because a gun was found in his locker. Brian was planning on using the gun to take his life. Because he failed to establish a clear sense of personal identity, he felt he had failed in his life, and therefore, the only choice he had was to end it. Luckily, as the film progresses, the bonds made with Claire, Andrew, Allison and bender show Brian that his life is worth more than the grades he receives and that taking his life would be the worst idea. Towards the end of the film, the group of teens are sitting in a circle when Brian shares his plan to end his life. The other teens begin to laugh at the stupidity of the plan, which shows Brian that ending his life would be a bad idea, and now he appears to feel more...
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