Central Themes In The Graduate Essay

1532 words - 6 pages

Central Themes in The Graduate

The themes of loneliness, isolation and entrapment are central to the
narrative of the 1967 film The Graduate. Throughout the film, many
devices are used in order to communicate this to the audience. This
list of devices includes the use of water and glass for example, which
is seen in many scenes and emphasizes the isolation and entrapment of
the not particularly remarkable but worthy kid who drowns amongst many
objects and things throughout this film.

The first scene we are going to look at is the party at the beginning
of the film; I find this a perfect example to look at Ben’s reactions
and his need or desire to be alone all the time, he doesn’t like to be
around that many people for too much time, or in fact no time at all.
There’s a part at the beginning of this scene when we see Ben sitting
alone with the lights off, but we don’t realize they’re off until his
father comes in and switches them on, interrupting the silence and
making Ben uncomfortable since he obviously wants to be alone. Then
there are a few shots where we can get a glimpse of the fish tank, but
more importantly, we see the scooba diver inside it. When you come to
think of it, the scooba diver is always there, in the middle of the
depth of the water inside the fishtank, having water and glass putting
him into total isolation, trapped but always exhibited, looked at, he
is subject to people’s examination. This whole thing may signify Ben’s
both loneliness and entrapment apart from isolation that we already
mentioned. Close-ups on Ben’s face and his gestures suggest
drastically that he wants to be left alone, but his parents insist and
insist on him to join the party, where everybody anxiously await him.
When he finally goes down, the camera movement and the fast cutting
makes us think of how he is really feeling at the moment, he is really
uncomfortable and annoyed by the presence of so many people in the
same space, almost claustrophobic. There’s a certain ‘’stage fear’’,
his parents want him to perform ‘’the perfect kid’’ stand up act but
he reflects the irony of the whole situation. When he tries to go up
the stairs once again (he tries a few times to get away from such a
crowded place) we see a woman’s hand just grab his shoulder, almost
imperatively just catching him saying ‘’where are you going?’’. All
the time he is grabbed by someone or speaks to someone there they all
treat him as if he was a child, (caressing him, the way they talk to
him) when in fact he is in his twenties. When he finally gets away
from all the people, he goes up to his room and as soon as he shuts
the door immediately all the party noise completely disappears. As Ben
shuts the door and leans against it with his back, we can observe his
body language as saying that he’s relieved, almost saying ‘’I...

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