Benjamin Braddock in Nichols’ The Graduate

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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A Boy Who Saves Himself Through Madness: An in Depth Look at Benjamin Braddock in Nichols' The Graduate Benjamin Braddock is alone and confused, "drowning" in a life that he is trying to desperately keep afloat. Upon returning home from the East Coast, the recent college graduate soon finds himself questioning the values of society and alienated from the world he thought he knew so well. The Graduate portrays the life of an upper-class boy who is embarking on the most confusing experiences of his life as he is transitioning into adulthood. Ben is an innocent an exploited young man who feels the pressure to conform but is struggling with his attempt of becoming his own "man." Throughout the film, Ben is seduced and betrayed by the older generation (including his parents, his dad's business friend, and the Robinsons) and feels the need to break away from the life of "plastics" and Los Angeles and find out what it is that truly makes him happy.

Utilizing Nichol's The Graduate, I will attempt to make sense of the complex and contradictory, yet sympathetic and endearing character of Benjamin Braddock.

In the opening scene Ben is alone in the shot and then the camera opens up to reveal him amongst a crowd on an airplane. He immediately seems shy and his face is expressionless. When he departs the plane he is riding along a moving walkway alone. He is oblivious to his surroundings. In the background a voice is repeating: "please stay to the right and only pass on the left hand side of the walkway." This scene tells us a lot about Ben's character. Instead of taking a proactive approach and moving to the left side of the walkway he stays on the right and allows others to move on...