Describe these contrasting aspects of the film.

Learning Goal: I’m working on a literature discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.The Graduate (1967)Director:Mike NicholsThemeIsolationComing of AgeSymbolismWaterGenreDark ComedyThe Graduate is in essence and indictment of American society at that time. It is in all entirely about sex, ennui, and desperation. The idea of the uncertainty of reaching adulthood, and struggling to accept this transformation, the idea of how frightening the future really is. The theme of coming of age illustrates the confusions young adults go through as to whether they actually are adults or still kids. Innocence being pushed in an unwanted direction through a society filled with expectations and selfishness of an older generation.Water is the most common symbol in the movie, signifying his overwhelming confusion and being sub-merged in it. This happens when he is leaning against the fish tank in his room during the party when he attempts to think about his future. Then again, on his birthday in his scuba gear when his parents push him into the water, indicating his unwillingness to comply with their demands. There is in fact a constant presence of water throughout the film:Benjamin in the pool
In the wetsuit
The rain
The fish
Benjamin Braddock alone on his bed. Behind him is a fish tank
The latter may symbolically represent Ben’s entrapment in a life that he doesn’t want. In fact later in the movie, Ben finds himself at the bottom of a swimming pool, thus further elaborating on that concept.Fish tanks are also a major motif. Benjamin’s constant obsession with his fish is indicative of who he is as a person, a shy young man who would much rather sit back and observe others between the safety of a sheet of glass. This may symbolizes the entire concept behind the character of Benjamin Braddock – the idea of living in a fishbowl or underwater is somehow comforting to Benjamin.The movie also contrasts the two worlds which Benjamin is torn between, a tainted “adult life” which includes the affair with an older woman or her daughter a young and innocent girl. A symbolic image of this is when Benjamin is at the hotel about to enter into the lobby. He opens the door as a group of elderly people walk in but, as he’s about to pass through a group of teenagers who are obviously at their prom walk through too.One of the most memorable scenes is when Benjamin is at his birthday party surrounded by the friends of his parents.The idea of a birthday party is something associated with being a young boy, he gets a “toy” (the scuba gear) and is expected to play with it in front of the other adult guests. In addition, the fact that those at the party are all part of the older generation—with the men discussing business and the women chatting quietly or being objects for the male gaze. This shows how they are reinforcing his status as a boy.The movie shows the conflict between the traditional male and the new image of the American male. Women are asserting themselves. In the first scene at the Taft Hotel in The Graduate, Mrs. Robinson wears a fur coat that makes her look like a predator hunting for her prey. During the seduction scene she is on the high ground, surrounded by jungle greenery, ready to pounce. She is a literal cougar.Plastic not only illustrates materialism, but also symbolizes the “self-destructive narcissism of the suburban dream. Benjamin Braddock’s relationship with Mrs. Robinson was revolutionary in the realm of American cinema for a multitude of reasons. Coming out of the 50’s there was still a certain era of American values, but the times were changing. The MPAA was no longer the final say in what a film could be about. Directors were beginning to push the limits of where film could go, pushing the boundaries not only of the artistic medium but of good taste as well.In the final confrontation the prop (cross) and location (church) impose a comment on religious institutions, perhaps implying that Elaine’s parents are trapped by traditional believes and practices.Also vital to the narrative is the score by Simon and Garfunkle. Benjamin is “Sounds of Silence” and of course Mrs. Roosevelt becomes “Mrs. Robinson”PromptThe Graduate is divided into two parts. There are two settings (Los Angeles and Berkeley), two generations and life-styles, two women, two sides of Benjamin, and perhaps two types of storytelling (satire and romance). Describe these contrasting aspects of the film. How are they related to each other and to the film’s main themes? Be sure to incorporate specific examples from the film in your paperMake Sure Assignment contains all required materials. Successfully discusses how The Graduate is divided into two parts. Uses at least four specific examples from the film that support their analysis.Site at least 1 source
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