The Breakfast Club movie was about five high school students from diverse cultures that must take a Saturday detention. The group was made up of a rebel (John), princess (Claire), outcast (Allison), brainy (Brian) and a jock (Andrew). Each one has a chance to tell a story, hoping to make the others see them a little differently. As this was an optimal group size of five, these group dynamics were especially identifiable as this group spent a whole day together in a confined space. When the day ended, they all questioned whether the school they have attended will be the same.
Leadership is influence. Allison held the role as leader more than anyone else. She was not silent in its influence, but also early on John had a lot of influence. When John left the detention room, the others would follow. The same was true when he closed the doors so that the principle would not hear what they were saying. The group begins to realize that John is showing how the group is beginning to form. But the biggest use of influence was seen when John convinced the group to smoke a joint of marijuana. They all began to tell about their poor relationships with the parents and how they felt about school and who each other hung around with. This also helped the group as they could relate to one another and bond together. But in the long run the indifferences taught them that conformity is not always applaudable. Just because you are someone of a different walk in life, you just need to asses the situations and adapted to them to achieve results. I believe this was done and the goals of getting through the Saturday detention were achieved, along with building somewhat new friendships.
What made the dynamics in this group interesting was that it was a sort of casual/social group, except this social group was very different from the normal social group they were all in. The relationships formed that day were very short-lived but seemed to have long lasting results. When it was asked what the group was going to do on Monday, the consensus was that, basically, nothing would change between them.
Not only did all of the five students struggle for power, so did the principle and the janitor. At first, the principle had great power because he had the ability to assign more detentions, and he did exercise this power with John. John didn’t see these punishments as punishments and he really didn’t care how many detentions he got or could get.
At all times, the principle of the school had power because he was the principle and he was to be the higher authority. But this power did not seem to come to be too strong though, because other individuals felt they had greater power.
Each of the five students during different parts of the movie held different types of power. In the beginning there was a definite order between Claire, B
rian, Andrew, and John. Allison’s influence in the group is very apparent. There is a strong battle for power between Claire and John, and John and Brian. John and Claire seem to be granted the most power because the others want them to like them. Claire is perceived as the “pretty girl” and the pretty girl typically gets attention from guys. John gets power as well, especially from Andrew because he looks up to him. Claire and John go back and forth between giving/getting power. Brian seems to go into a power struggle with John. Brian feels that he deserves the power and John does not.
The achieved status of each of the five students was from a variety of statuses. Claire, the daughter of a rich man and a pretty girl, Brian, a jock and a wrestler, Allison the very standoffish individual, and last is Andrew the total rebel and did not like to follow anyone’s rules. As the day goes on, status is formed of context within the group. Each person’s status seems to level out as knowledge of one another’s backgrounds grow.
The group has different ways of thinking, but all have different identities. Such as Brian who is shy but engaging, Allison who is a mysterious, quiet and reserved person, John who has hand gestures such as using the middle finger and many facial expressions insulting his new ”friends”, Claire displays her feelings of being above everyone else, making judgmental faces at certain people when they talk, and remarking how she is very aware of how popular she is at Shermer High School, Andrew has a great personality, he comes off as a star athlete and is very tough. The group reinforces each identity by working with what each person brings to the table and supports each one’s decisions and feelings.
While in the Saturday detention, John develops a sense that he is losing his “cool kid” reputation and begins to come up with arguments with all others in detention. He starts an argument with Claire about “how much of a princess” she is and even goes to the extent of bringing up her parents and drunken mother. This prompts Claire to retaliate with bringing up the friends that John hangs around with and the reputation he has in the school. This is the same with the others in the group, but after the typical arguing of who thinks they are right, the group concludes that everyone will always have an opinion, but you must respect that opinion and the person. The group also had both constructive and destructive conflicts that eventually were worked out by listening and accepting the thoughts and concerns of each other.
All during the day different small conversations are made amongst the group, the group members sometimes even comment amongst themselves on how they think of members in this detention. The group members sometimes turn on each other but realize that maybe what people are saying could be true or something that they need to think about. When all of them sit down and engage in a group conversation, they work together to come to make sure that each other are fully understanding what has been said. They also clear up any rumors or misguided thinking so that nobody feels that what was said should be taking negatively and they want to reach a positive outcome when all is said and done.
At the end of the Saturday detention each member takes a small leadership role and reminds the group that they were here for a reason and whatever that reason was, is not important anymore. What is important is that they are or have grown to be closer in understanding who each person is, what their personality is, what the likes and dislikes are. They also realize that you can not judge someone by what they wear, what car they drive, who their parents are, but that everyone is not perfect, and you can have a jock and rebel talk to each other in the halls or a princess and a rebel talk in the halls. You could also say that the dynamics of the group changes drastically from start to finish. Looking at the five in the beginning and then seeing the five at the end, you would could conclude that each member had grown. However, that just shows you how much influence an individual can have on the group to completely change the dynamic of that group.
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