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The environment in we are brought up from as a child shapes us and helps us to become who we are as adults. This coming of age concept is ultimately influenced by the parental, social and cultural environments in which we are exposed to as children. The popular teenage coming-of-age film, “The Breakfast Club” effectively demonstrates and supports this. Our grown up selves are a product of our environment during youth. As children, we see our parents as role models and they are usually the first to influence how we behave.
The rules our parents enforce upon us as children ultimately dictate what we believe is right or wrong and affects all of our decisions. In “The Breakfast Club”, Brian’s parents put a lot of pressure on Brian in regards to school grades as Brian quotes, “I can’t have an F. I can’t have it and I know my parents can’t have it. ” This shows that Brian’s parents’ strictness with school grades has passed onto him which is why he also believes that it is unacceptable to receive low grades. Brian understands that he must receive good grades in order to have a well-off future.
Likewise, the mistakes and flaws of our parents that we witness as a child will influence how to respond to such situations. This is shown effectively in “Breakfast Club” during the group therapy when Andrew asks the group if they’ll ever become like their parents. Claire firmly answers, “Not me, ever,” whereas Allison contradicts her saying that it’s unavoidable, “It just happens”. This is relevant to coming of age as it shows that the family environment in which we are raised in plays a large role in shaping us into who we become as adults.
When Allison comments that “it’s unavoidable” the teenagers have gained the knowledge that what Allison has said may actually be true, that perhaps they will end up like their parents. Hence, the way in we are brought up by our parents will affect our choices and decisions throughout life. The social influences in which we are exposed to as youths affect the way we act and react in different situations. Our friends, family, and the other people around us are all part of our social environment and our individual thoughts, actions and feelings are influenced by social groups.
An example of this can be illustrated by the stereotypical characters used in “The Breakfast Club”. When Brian asks if they will all still be friends on Monday, all the characters besides him and Allison believe they will no longer be friends due to the amount of pressure put on them to act in a certain way and only “hang out” with certain people. It shows that they understand their social responsibilities which is part of coming of age. We are therefore strongly influenced by social environment in which we are brought up in; as we grow more mature, we understand our position in society and will keep this social identity into adulthood.