Psychology in The World of The Breakfast Club: What the Criminal doesn’t want you to know?!

As you might know their are five traits that we can associate personality with and this includes the following:

~Extroversion: The tendency to be outgoing, energetic and sociable getting energy from being around other people.

~Openness: The tendency to enjoy variety, novelty, challenge and intellectual stimulation.

~Agreeableness: The tendency to be friendly, compassionate, and cooperative.

~Conscientiousness: The tendency to show self-discipline and self-control.

These factors are represented multiple times as you might not have paid attention to the psychology of these characters.  But one cannot ignore the loaded language used by John Bender…So let’s analyze John Bender’s character using the Psychoanalytic theory which is Sigmund Freud’s belief that personality attributes thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts.

“The Criminal!”

“If he gets up, we’ll all get up, it’ll be anarchy!”

So is Bender a Type A or Type B personality?

Well, lets look at his personality traits from the movie.  We know that he is vulgar and ballsy while engaging in impulsive behavior.  He doesn’t try hard to mask his reprehensible behavior.  Several times we can see that he doesn’t respect authority and feels that he is simply “too cool for school.”

Bender hides his emotions about his home life and his childhood trauma.  We can infer that he has a lot of bottled up emotions inside him from his displayed actions.  He frequently uses defense mechanisms to cope with his feelings of emptiness…he is quick to judge others and spew his mouth whether you like his sarcastic rhetoric or not and this often offends Claire (Molly Ringwald) throughout the film.  At least he says how he feels, eh?! 

Well what are some of Benders behaviors??

~ In the beginning he stands walks out in front of a car without looking.

~ He gets into trouble several times by Vernon and then he says “Eat my shorts!”

~ When he brings up his father he expresses how bothered he is by these circumstances.

What did the movie reveal about John Bender’s Family History?

~ Doesn’t have a normal nuclear family (kinda dysfunctional…A LOT!)

~ John has burn scars on his arm from when his father burned him with his cigars.

~ His father is an alcoholic 

~ His mother doesn’t do anything about his fathers behaviors and allows him to verbally abuse John and burn him.

~ He doesn’t get proper care and attention from both of his parents.

How can we tie his life to the Psychoanalytic Theory?

He has been physically and verbally abused since he was a child and it cause him to act out by being rebellious towards authority, care-free, testing his boundaries.  So his past has in a way traumatized him to act in the manner that he does today.  We can see very well that he jokes a lot in the film by attacking/belittling the other characters and Freud states that the ego employs a range of defense mechanisms to help ward off repressed feelings of anger and disappointment.

Sigmund Freud: Structure of Mind (ID, ego, superego)

The Structure of the mind is based on three aspects that work together to produce all of our complex behaviors:

ID: is driven by the pleasure principle, wants immediate gratification.  This is the instinctive part of the mind that immediately to wants and desires (ID is fully unconscious).

Ego: The decision making part of the mind, it uses reason and logic and tries to get the unrealistic ID to cooperate (partially conscious).

Superego:  This is the voice that incorporates the values and morals which are learned from one’s parents and society.  It’s initial goal is to persuade the ID and Ego to turn to moral goals instead rather than seeking pleasure (partially conscious).

Quotes used by John Bender:

“Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.”

“Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”

“You how you said before that your parents use each other to get back at each other, wouldn’t I be outstanding in that capacity?”

“Don’t you ever talk about my friends. You don’t know any of my friends. You don’t look at any of my friends. And you certainly wouldn’t condescend to speak to any of my friends. So you just stick to the things you know: shopping, nail polish, your father’s BMW, and your poor, rich drunk mother in the Caribbean.” 

“Sure you are. Sex is your weapon. You said it yourself. You use it to get respect.”

John Benders Mind of Structure?!

~ The scene where all the characters bond is during the hallway scene because the rush they were all feeling.

~ When John knew that Andrew was going the wrong way but still went with him.

~ When he distracted Vernon for his team.

~ At the end when the gang bonds when they reveal themselves to each other.

Image result for john bender quotes

 What are your thoughts on Bender by the end of the movie?!


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