“The Graduate” Essay
Twenty-One year old Ben Bradock, comes home to California, after graduating from the University, and lacks direction in his life. His coming-home party is significant, in that it I s all his parents friends, no one his own age. Likewise for his twenty first birthday party when he is “put on display” by his father who has bought him an expensive birthday present which he has no legitimate use for-a diving suit. He is seduced by and has an affair with an attractive and middle aged women- Mrs. Robinson-who is married to his father’s law firm partner. However, much to Mrs. Robinson’s objections, Benjamin fall in love with her only daughter, Elaine, and after a host of events and extravaganzas, Benjamin ends up crashing Elaine’s intended wedding and running off with the bride.
The film deals with, among several themes, themes of isolation, alienation, entrapment, the generation gap, and romance. Through use of mise en scene, editing, and soundtrack, concerns and plots of the film are shown effectively.
Ben’s isolation and entrapment are reflected in numerous glass and water motifs, used to divide Ben from others. The same with the pool shots and the fish tank scene, like a fish out of water, drowning, searching for his comfort zone.
The Camera shot veers from extreme long shot, of Ben alone in wide open spaces, like when he was walking along the airport walkway, or on the Berkley Campus, to extreme close ups and claustrophobic framing devices, allowing audience to empathize with protagonist, like in the opening sequence, when Ben’s parents shroud our view by stepping in front of the camera and oppressing him visually, which allowed his frustration to be shared. Also when he descends down the staircase at his parents house to be crowded by his parents friends and badgered as to how he was going to spend the rest of his life. Ben’s clothing and body language progress from tight conformity of suit and tie at the beginning...
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