“I think [watching Mean Girls in English class] is a great idea. It’s funny, and then it also shows…how girls act, [not realistically], but it’s enhanced. It’s really entertaining,” said sophomore Lily Kline, a student in Robyn Westrem’s Honors English 10.
For the past few weeks, sophomore students in Honors English 10 have been watching parts of the movie Mean Girls alongside reading chapters from the novel The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. Mean Girls tells the story of Cady Heron, a teen who moves from Africa with her parents and must attend a public high school, where a group of girls called “The Plastics” are at the top of the social hierarchy. Cady must learn how to follow their rules in order to fit in, and ends up losing sight of who she used to be and becoming a different person.
In comparison, The Lord of the Flies shares the story of a group of English schoolboys who become stranded on an island during World War III. In order to survive, the boys must develop their own rules and select a leader, but in the end “being grown up” proves to be harder than they thought and the boys resort to violence.
The movie and the novel have many things in common, and students have been analyzing the “unwritten rules of girl world” in Mean Girls while delving into the view of human nature that Golding presents in his book.
“I like it,” said sophomore Ellen Boehm, who is also a student in Honors English 10. “I think it’s a different [view of the movie] when you talk about how the book [relates to it]. The gender roles switch. Guys fight by punching people and girls backstab and are rude,” said Ellen Boehm.
Kline has also been making connections between the book and the movie.
“Both [stories] have the animalistic [idea],” said Kline. “When Regina spreads the flyers out, then all the girls read about each other…they start actually physically fighting [like animals], which is kind of what happened in The Lord of the Flies. They get in fights.”
Mean Girls is a movie that uses extreme situations, hyperbole and satire to draw viewers in, provide a source of comedy and teach lessons. Many Minnehaha girls agree that the exaggerated moments of high school drama do have an impact on the story that Mean Girls is trying to tell.
“The [inappropriate parts] add on to the drama and the effect of the whole thing, and it makes it entertaining,” said Boehm. “So I think, as a movie producer, I probably would have thrown it in, but maybe toned it down a little.”
Sophomore Anna Northenscold agrees that the movie uses satire to make a point, though it can sometimes be uncomfortable.
“It’s awkward because there’s a lot of stuff that is blown out of proportion,” said Northenscold.
Though the movie has moments that can be edgy and uncomfortable, many sophomore girls seem to drawing lessons from comparing it to Golding’s The Lord of the Flies.
“It’s very primal,” said sophomore Greta Hallberg. “I think both of them [have different ideas]. ’Kill or be killed’ in Lord of the Flies, and I’m not saying that it’s like that in Mean Girls, not to that extent, but socially, it’s ‘Squash or be squashed. It’s very, ‘Oh, who is going to win?’ There’s a power struggle.”