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Character Analysis – The Breakfast Club Essay


The Breakfast Club is a coming-of-age film made in 1985 about 5 teenagers, with seemingly nothing in common, stuck in detention together for 9 hours on a Saturday. The Breakfast Club consists of Claire the princess, Andrew the athlete, Brian the brain, Allison the basket case, and Bender the criminal. This paper will be the analysis of Bender’s character and interpersonal communication skills. I will discuss his: self-concept, self-esteem, verbal communication, nonverbal communication, expression of emotions, style of conflict, stereotype, relationship to power, use of defense mechanisms, use of the fundamental attribution error, and the effects of the reverse halo effect on his perception.

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Self-Concept and Self-Esteem: A Worthless Criminal

“Self-concept is the sum total of a person’s knowledge and understanding of his- or herself”(Mottet, Vogl-Bauer, & Houser, 2012, p.32). Bender’s actions indicate that a key part of his self-concept revolves around the criminal stereotype that has been cast on him. He was told that he is a criminal many times, therefore he started to embrace this role as part of his self-concept. He shows this pretty clearly when he gets into a physical fight with Andrew. When the fight separates he tells Andrew that he isn’t worth the trouble because he would kill him and then he pulls out a knife. It looks as if he did so, not because he wanted to harm Andrew, but because he felt he needed to in order to be credible as a criminal.

“Self-esteem reflects a person’s overall self-appraisal of his or her own worth” (Mottet et al, 2012, p.32) by this definition, Bender has extremely low self-esteem. It is likely that his self-esteem is so low because he has been criticized and called worthless so often that he has begun to believe he is actually worthless. One example of the criticisms he has been receiving is when he does an impression of his father talking to him. He says in a stern voic…

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