Study Guide

The Breakfast Club Dissatisfaction

Dissatisfaction

No one in The Breakfast Club is ultimately all that happy with what they've got, whether what they have would typically be judged "good" or not. What John Bender has is pretty terrible by any standards: an abusive dad and a lousy home life. But what Claire Standish or Andrew Clark have looks a lot better, since they're swimming in popularity and social approval. Yet they're totally dissatisfied too. It's as though dissatisfaction were the natural atmosphere of life itself.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. What would satisfy these characters? Imagine situations in which they would be perfectly content and what it would take for them to feel that way.
  2. Is life ultimately satisfying? Will these characters be satisfied when they grow up? Or is learning to tolerate some dissatisfaction and be mildly unhappy a part of life?
  3. Do you think Brian actually would've committed suicide or not?

Chew on This

Sigmund Freud once wrote to a patient, "But you will see for yourself that much has been gained if we succeed in turning your hysterical misery into common unhappiness." But can the characters ultimately surmount either their "hysterical misery" or the "common unhappiness" that is a part of life?

You could argue that real satisfaction and real joy are actually obtainable in life. In The Breakfast Club, the understanding they gain with each other might actually prove key to this attainment, and the happiness of being with people really does amount to something lasting.