File this one under closing image masterclass. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the Breakfast Club. It’s not one of my favorites but it’s been on my radar for at least thirty years. My girlfriend was watching it the other day and I caught something I had never before: With its amputated arms, the sculpture is the inverse of the closing image (the sculpture is a replica of Standing Figure: Knife Edge by English artist Henry Moore). If John Hughes was juxtaposing the school with communism, it would have been his Giant Lenin Head. The statue is a symbol of silencing individual expression. i.e., the voice of the teenager versus the institution fixed on shaping them, not for their own good, but the good of society at large. After the kids spend their day together, they eventually empathize with each other and discover that their struggles aren’t all that different. So, when Bender throws his arm in the air, he becomes the new symbol, metaphorically shattering the shackles of the institution.
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