Mike Nichol’s “The Graduate”
A Real Graduate
In Mike Nichol’s, “The Graduate” Ben (a shy, antisocial, college graduate) who attended school on the east coast for four years -more than likely to get away from his parents- returns home to his family and a life full of high expectations, confusion, and a love triangle. Most parents who want their children to be successful, ideally, would not want to have full control over their child’s career path. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Ben. The day he came home his parents threw him a graduation party -considering none of his real friends were invited- that was really for Mr. Braddock’s (Ben’s father) friends and business partners to ...view middle of the document...
Dealing with his ties in a love triangle and his high expectations from his parents, Ben learns the true meaning of a “graduate.”
Having been off to college for four years, most students would probably agree that a few weeks of lying around and relaxing is completely ok. But according to Mr. Braddock, it is completely unacceptable. In a scene when Ben is hanging around the pool, his father asks him if he had thought about graduate school yet. When Ben replied: “No” his father furiously inquired “You mind telling me what these four years of college was for?’ Although he did pay for his son’s college education it does not empower him to regulate what Ben wants to do with his career. A week after his graduation party, Ben’s parents threw him another party for his twenty-first birthday which was seemingly- not for him. As a birthday gift, Mr. Braddock bought him a $200 scuba suit and wanted him to give the party guest a “practical demonstration” of its functions. While his father was bragging to his guests about Ben’s plans for “continuous education” and preparing them for their “feature presentation” Ben was in the house stalling time from the walk of embarrassment. His lousy dive into the pool (the “feature presentation”) concludes that Ben doesn’t really know how to stand up for himself. He knows how to “try” but he doesn’t yet know how to “do.”
Celebrating his birthday with a few drinks (as most twenty-one year olds would) he calls Mrs. Robinson -mildly intoxicated- and asks her to meet him at a “hotel to have a drink” leaving us with the assumption that an affair is about to take place. When Mrs. Robinson arrives at the hotel she isn’t surprised that Ben hasn’t gotten a room yet. When she insinuates him to get a room, he utters “I mean we could, or we can just talk” which establishes that her idea of “having drinks” was not the same as his. In fact, she even initiates ordering the room for him and then pressures him into doing so. Enduring Ben’s vulnerable demeanor, it is not perplexing to illustrate the next scene -Mrs. Robinson engaging in her plan to seduce. It is no doubt that “Mrs. Robinson is a compelling character” (Smith 2). As she succeeded in the seduction, she simultaneously fails when Ben begins to elaborate on how his parents would react if they were to find out about their encounter. Changing the mood of the scene, Ben then asks how her daughter was conceived, only to find out: “it was in the back of a Ford.”
Also unaware of Mrs. Robinson’s actions, when Mr. Braddock is notified that the Robinson’s daughter, Elaine, is coming home from Berkley; he too –like Mr. Robinson- believed they could “hit it off together.” After Mrs. Robinson finds out that there was a plan to initiate Ben and Elaine, without a doubt she immediately adheres Ben to a promise that he “will never take Elaine out.” But the promise is shortly broken when he takes her out days later. Trying to appear as if he wasn’t a shy and apprehensive guy...