The 1980's Through the Eyes of John Hughes The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off Historicism

Essay by SHSsoftballstar6High School, 12th gradeA+, October 2004

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The yuppie was in, nice cars were ideal, working hard was a necessity and a given, and nothing was more enjoyable than making money (except maybe spending it). Money and material were the trademarks of the 1980's, the decade of temporary prosperity. Adults bought huge houses, cruised vast oceans, and threw wild parties. Cocaine made its debut, and the divorce rate was at its highest. But what were the kids doing during all this insanity? To explore teenage life, one must turn from the orthodox sociological books or magazines to another type of media: the movies. In his films, writer, director, and producer, John Hughes explored the world of the eighties' teenagers. In the films The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Hughes focuses on the pressures and conformities of the white middle class adolescent. He depicts life in the 1980's very accurately by comically mocking the social order, ambiguously revealing the socially acceptable roles of women, and by presenting stories through the eyes of a group of people who are usually looked over when discussing the 1980's, teenagers.

In his movies, Hughes pokes fun at the American social order. In Hughes' movies, characters who are traditionally at the top of the social hierarchy (wealthy, white-collar, Caucasians) are written to be ignorant, gullible, and imprudent. In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Bueller has missed nine days of school, and his parents are completely oblivious. Bueller plays sick for his parents in order to miss yet another day of school. His line: "Incredible! One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second," really displays the lack of respect he has for his parents' intelligence. Mr. Rooney, the school's principal, and his assistant Grace, are also portrayed in a similar light. Ed Rooney...