The Graduate Motifs

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The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichol’s in 1967, is about Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate, who is stuck in the middle of his past and his future. Throughout the film, you learn that Benjamin is a lonely young man who is confused about what to do since he has graduated. During a graduation party that his parents had thrown for him, with none of Benjamin’s friends because he has none, Mrs. Robinson had asked him to drive her home since her husband took the car. Mrs. Robinson is the wife of Ben’s father’s business partner. When Benjamin drives Mrs. Robinson home and walks her into her house, she seduces him. During the film, Benjamin begins to frequently meet with Mrs. Robinson to have an affair in a hotel room. Eventually Benjamin falls in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine, and finds a way to her heart at the end. Throughout the entire film, there are many different scenes that include symbolism, important camera angles and context that add to the meaning of the film. In the opening scene of the film, the viewer sees Benjamin, on his way home from college, on a conveyer belt in a suit and tie like a conformist as people pass him by. Conformity means being like the rest of the world. The white wall in the background that is greatly visible resembles Benjamin’s emptiness and the blank slate that he has since he is coming home from graduating college. As we see Benjamin in his room in the following scene, the fish tank that is in front of him shows him in a way as though he is inside of the fish tank. As the fish seem as though they are swimming around him face, Benjamin feels trapped in his life as he thinks about what is going to happen next. Following this, his father, Mr. Braddock, walks into his room and sits right in between Benjamin and the camera, obstructing our view of Benjamin. As Benjamin says how much he just wants to be alone, his father cuts him off while talking as though his father has control of his view and his speech. Finally,...
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