The Graduate Essay

1562 words - 6 pages

Synopsis Ben sits on a crowded plane on his way to Los Angeles; regardless of the mass of people, his facial expression reveals that of detachment. He has graduated from a university back East. Ben?s parents throw him a welcome home party consisting only of their friends. The guests prod Ben for answers regarding his future. Despite the crowd, Ben feels isolated. He resigns to his room, where he is followed by Mrs. Robinson, wife of Mr. Braddock?s long time business partner. She convinces Ben to drive her home. Ben discontentedly obliges. Mrs. Robinson forces a drink on Ben, removes her clothes, and during a rhythmic editing shot of her nude--informs Ben that she is "available" to him. This leads to an unromantic affair.Ben spends most of his summer lounging in his pool and under the sheets with Mrs. Robinson at the Taft Hotel. Ben?s parents constantly urge him to do something, and suggest taking out the Robinson?s daughter, Elaine. Initially, Ben is reluctant due to Mrs. Robinson?s objecting. Ben decides to appease his parents, but turn off the charm, so Elaine won?t fall for him. After one miserable date, he apologizes because he?d like to pursue her.A mad Mrs. Robinson threatens Ben that she?s going to tell Elaine their situation, but he decides to confess before Mrs. Robinson can get to her. Furious, Elaine goes back to UC Berkley. Ben transforms from apathetic to in pursuit. He rents a room and follows Elaine around school. While there, Ben is told that Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are divorcing, and Elaine is engaged to a medical student.Ben attempts to stop the wedding, but doesn?t arrive at the church on time. Elaine leaves with Ben anyway. They board a bus, and look at each other with uncertainty.Use of Motifs and How They Creates Symbolism The Graduate opens with a close-up of Ben's vacant facial expression. As a viewer we are only able to focus on him, he is the only thing we are allowed to see and therefore he is the only thing that exists until the camera pulls back. We are then able to see that much more is happening around and amongst him. The sense we initially get of Ben being alone is one that we are supposed to connect with Ben, that of "isolation" (DVD). The close-ups of Ben's face are used frequently throughout the film. It is particularly noticeable in Scene 7, "Sounds of Silence" in a montage; at this point he is completely detached from everything, his parents, and his passiveness towards the affair with Mrs. Robinson.While Ben appears to be a good swimmer, he is often seen as figuratively "drowning" (Dirks). The welcome home party his parents throw Ben cause him to feel overwhelmed, "worried about his future." It is here Mr. Robinson urges him to go into "plastics," he floats about the room for a bit among a middle-class crowd who place value in objects. He retires to his room where he stares into an aquarium with a diver at the bottom of it, possibly envying the "peaceful position of the ?diver" (Dirks). Mrs. Robinson asks Ben...

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