Nonverbal Communication of the Breakfast Club

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Shane Seemann
The Nonverbal Club

The Breakfast Club is such an interesting movie to use with this topic. The wide range of characters allows for a variety of different interactions. The way we are going to approach this, is to look at each character and examine the different interactions between. Let us first start off with some good examples of Physical Appearances and Artifacts, or the personal objects we use to announce our identities, interests and backgrounds. Our appearance includes everything from our body type to our hair style to our skin color to eye color to height. (Orbe & Bruess, 2005) We have five characters, all representing a possible cliques in high school. We have Andy, the clean cut jock; neat blonde hair, plain blue sweatshirt, plain white t-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. This says that he is probably a good student, the lack of crazy designs says he is non-confrontational, his letterman jacket says he plays sports. Claire is an innocent young girl, as represented by her pink blouse, soft features and red hair. She is slightly more upper class, shown with a small white scarf around her neck. Bender’s jean jacket, flannel shirt, long hair and scuffed jeans and boots tell us that he is a rebel of sorts. He doesn’t feel he fits into society, so he separates himself using his clothes as a buffer. Brian on the other hand, has a plain green sweatshirt and jeans on. This expresses that he is timid, non-confrontational as we concluded about Andy’s plain clothing. Lastly we have Allison. She wears a parka in class. This is very interesting, it speaks to her desire to be separated from the rest of society, as with Bender, she uses her clothing as a buffer against people. The Artifacts are very interesting in and of themselves. Allison’s purse is a very fascinating example, they actually bring it up in the film. Brian decides she collects things, and behaves the way she does so people think that she’s going to run away. She does this because she feels neglected at home, so she uses it to get attention. Bender’s knife and drug stash also made this noticeable. The fact that he took drugs and a knife to school tells us that he doesn’t care about his education or feel that it is worth his time. Although, Bender giving his sunglasses to Brian really warmed my heart. It showed that Bender had kind of taken a liking to Brian. Who probably took a lot of confidence from it as demonstrated by the relaxed and confident demeanor he had after he put them on. Brian thought that if he could wear glasses like Bender did, that he would become a little more like him. One last thing about Artifacts, and I hate writing about the end of the movie in the middle of a paper, but when Allison takes a patch off of Andy’s letterman jacket, it warmed my heart a little. Her taking the patch, meaning that by taking this artifact from him, no matter the social restrictions, they would always have the bond they created that day. Now let us discuss Proxemics. Proxemics, or the way we use space to communicate (Orbe & Bruess, 2005) is shown right away in the film, when Andy sits down next to Claire and away from the other students. Obviously they are more comfortable sitting next to each other because they are closer in the social pyramid. About a half an hour into the movie, after the scene where the group starts whistling, it shows another good example of Proxemics. All of the characters are bundled up in the front area of the class, all except Allison. She is still sitting in the back of the room. This speaks to her resistance to conform to the group. At this point she is still set on remaining separated from the group. A third example is when Bender gets into Claire’s Personal space (18 in. – 4 ft.) Or possibly even Intimate Space (0 in. – 18 in.) (Orbe & Bruess, 2005) when he questions Claire about whether she’s been felt up. He does this to enforce the attitude he’s trying to project. Lastly, the discussion about life at...
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