Central Themes in The Graduate

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Central Themes in The Graduate The themes of loneliness, isolation and entrapment are central to the narrative of the 1967 film The Graduate. Throughout the film, many devices are used in order to communicate this to the audience. This list of devices includes the use of water and glass for example, which is seen in many scenes and emphasizes the isolation and entrapment of the not particularly remarkable but worthy kid who drowns amongst many objects and things throughout this film. The first scene we are going to look at is the party at the beginning of the film; I find this a perfect example to look at Ben’s reactions and his need or desire to be alone all the time, he doesn’t like to be around that many people for too much time, or in fact no time at all. There’s a part at the beginning of this scene when we see Ben sitting alone with the lights off, but we don’t realize they’re off until his father comes in and switches them on, interrupting the silence and making Ben uncomfortable since he obviously wants to be alone. Then there are a few shots where we can get a glimpse of the fish tank, but more importantly, we see the scooba diver inside it. When you come to think of it, the scooba diver is always there, in the middle of the depth of the water inside the fishtank, having water and glass putting him into total isolation, trapped but always exhibited, looked at, he is subject to people’s examination. This whole thing may signify Ben’s both loneliness and entrapment apart from isolation that we already mentioned. Close-ups on Ben’s face and his gestures suggest drastically that he wants to be left alone, but his parents insist... ... middle of paper ... ...normous glass which separates the bottom part of the church from the upper floor, where the choir usually is. How often is this seen in a church? Practically never. It’s also very ironic how Ben uses the Christian cross to keep the distance between him and Elaine and the rest of the people, and also how he uses it to lock them inside the church to buy them time to run away. Now it’s all the people who are locked behind glass, which doesn’t change much since Ben (and also Elaine now) is still as isolated as before. All throughout the film we see constant use of conventional codes which reflect many different things which most times have a subconscious effect on the audience. All these devices added up together have a very strong effect, clearly emphasizing all throughout the piece loneliness, isolation and entrapment.
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