Glass As a Motif In "The Graduate"

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In the 1967 movie, “The Graduate”, the director used glass as a major motif in the film. I believe that he did this for a number of reasons, one of them symbolizing that Ben is unable to communicate and get through to the people that he cares about. A second reason I believe glass was used in the movie was to symbolize Mrs. Robinson and possibly whoever Ben cared for the most at that time. In the next few pages, I will break down the use of glass in “The Graduate” scene by scene and discuss why I think glass is used in these scenes. Towards the beginning of the film, we see Ben and Mr. McGwire having a conversation by the poolside and Mr. McGwire says the following to Ben “I just want to say one word to you, just one word.. plastics. There’s a great future in plastics.” One of the next shots we get of Ben in his bedroom is him looking down over the pool through his window. The window looks very dirty or foggy, and I think this represents his struggle with trying to let people know that he’s struggling with his identity and trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Also, I think it’s ironic that Mr. McGwire tells him there’s a future in plastics and then we have this glass motif throughout the whole movie. Throughout the entire movie, we have been looking into the fish tank at the fish that are captive. I believe that this is how been feels and this is portrayed through looking through the glass. On his 21st birthday, when he exits the house in the scuba diving suit, we get a shot through the glass of the suit he is looking out at all his friends and family and definitely feeling trapped. After he enters the pool, there is another shot through the glass mask of Ben trying to come to the surface of the pool, but his father keeps pushing him back under the water, kind of like his father is holding him back. Throughout the movie, we get

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