Central Themes in The Graduate Essay

Central Themes in The Graduate Essay

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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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