Formal Essay #4
English Composition 21:355101:10
Introduction to assignment: We have read Molly Ringwald’s essay, “What About The Breakfast
Club?” which explores the question of how we are “meant to feel about art we both love and oppose.”
We have also watched the film Sixteen Candles, which Ringwald references numerous times in her article.
In his 1984 review of Sixteen Candles, film critic Richard Gaines states the following:
Sixteen Candles contains scenes that are present in nearly all teenage movies: the dance, the make out session, the nerd ending up with the popular girl, the party that turns into a free-for-all, and the happy ending. Also, there are hijinks involving Jake’s stuck-up and manipulative girlfriend, Samantha’s impossible grandparents, ridiculous parents and siblings, and a foreign exchange student named Long Duk Dong (actor Gedde Watanabe, as the exchange student, elevates his role from a potentially offensive stereotype to high comedy). But writer and director John Hughes doesn’t treat his teen characters as subjects for exploitation; he listens to these kids. For example, on the night of the dance, Samantha ends up in the shop room with the Geek. They’re sitting in the front seat of an old car. The Geek acts as if he’s sex-mad, but then, in a real departure for this kindof movie, he and Samantha really start to talk, and it turns out they’re both lonely, insecure, and
in need of a good friend. Sixteen Candles doesn’t hate its characters or condescend to them; instead,
it goes for human comedy and finds it in the everyday lives of the everyday kids in its story. Sixteen
Candles is about the kind of young kids we all know—the kind of young kids who think a lot about
sex, but who are shy and inexperienced and unsure and touchingly committed to concepts like
True Love.
Based on your reading of “What About The Breakfast Club?” how does Molly Ringwald
complicate Richard Gaines’ 1984 review of the film Sixteen Candles? You must quote from both
Gaines and Ringwald and incorporate TWO quotes from Harry M. Benshoff and Sean Griffin’s
America on Film as further evidence to support and strengthen your analysis of why and how
Ringwald’s text complicates Gaines’ review of the movie. You must also reference/quote from the
film Sixteen Candles throughout your essay.
Your essay should be 5-7 pages long, should primarily draw on textual evidence from Richard Gaines,
Molly Ringwald and the film Sixteen Candles, and should analyze three different ways in which
Ringwald complicates Gaines’ 1984 review of Sixteen Candles. Please remember to include an
introduction paragraph that contains a thesis statement, body paragraphs organized around main ideas,
and a brief conclusion paragraph. Please also be sure to properly transition between these four writers.
– You must quote from Richard Gaines’ review and from Molly Ringwald’s article in each of your
three main body paragraphs. You must also reference/quote from the film Sixteen Candles in each of
your three main body paragraphs (these references can be summary of a scene you are analyzing, an
exchange/dialogue between characters, character analysis, etc.). Please make sure that these quotes (six
altogether—two per-body paragraph), from both Ringwald and Gaines, are relevant to the three main
body paragraphs in which you incorporate them.
– You must also quote Benshoff and Griffin (America on Film), but in only TWO of your main
body paragraphs.
❖ Follow MLA format.
❖ No title page required.
❖ 5-6 pages, double-spaced.
❖ Margins must be no more than one inch on all sides.
❖ First page must contain proper (single-spaced) heading and must be properly paginated: your last
name and the page number on the upper right corner of the page.
❖ All subsequent pages must be properly paginated: your last name and the page number on the upper
right corner of the page.
❖ Times New Roman font and 12-point font size.
❖ A well-chosen title that depicts the content of your essay and the message you are sending your
❖ Strong introduction and conclusion.
❖ Thesis statement that falls at the end of your introduction paragraph.
❖ Works cited page. NOTE: the works cited page does not count as one of the assigned 5-7 pages of
your essay.
❖ Proofread and edit your paper thoroughly before handing it in. Read it out loud to yourself and to
someone else.
❖ Pay strict attention to grammar, syntax, structure, development of argument, logic, spelling,
punctuation, and fluidity.

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