"The Graduate: Ben's birthday party"Characterize
the relationship between Ben and his parents in this film scene; take into
account relevant cinematic devices.
|t's Ben's 21st birthday today. The guests, friends and neighbours have
gathered at the Braddocks' swimming-pool.
Mr. Braddock is announcing his son Ben like an attraction in a circus.
At the beginning of this sequence Ben is inside the house. Outside Mr Braddock
praises Ben and his birthday present at great length. So everybody expectantly
waits for Ben.
Mr Braddock is entertaining his guests as he usually does, being a
jovial character. Ben, however, feels more and more ridiculous and doesn't
want to show himself to the guests in his peculiar birthday present. He
wants to discuss this 'show' with his father, but Mr Braddock stays adamant.
So Ben does his duty as an obedient son an goes out of the house into the
garden. All the guest applaud to, and laugh at him, the circus clown Ben
being dressed in a suba diving suit.
It isn't a good atmosphere for Ben and he seems to wish to vanish from
the earth, as he in fact wished at his - or rather his parents' - graduation
party not so long ago. There, too, he was presented by his proud
father as an extremely successful graduate; there, too he managed to escape
in the closeness to his own room, if only for a very short time.
But Ben is forced by his father and the circumstances to come out,
with his fins at his feet clumsily trying to reach the pool. In this scene
we can only hear Ben's breath and see through his diving mask Mr Braddock
and his mother waving to him to the water. This POV-shot emphasizes Ben's
absolute loneliness in his family, and perhaps generally in life.
Mrs Braddock stands behind her husband. This indicates that she has
always been subordinate to her husband, thus being little support for Ben.
When Ben arrives at the edge of the pool, he, after a short moment
of hesitation, jumps into the water. After his plunge he comes up for a
moment, only to be pushed down by his father. This can be seen as a highly
symbolic moment, his father pushing him down, all through his life having
pushed down Ben and hampered Ben's development.
This scene makes us clear that for Ben there is no development possible
with his parents. At this very moment they misuse their son, as they have
always done, to fulfill their own immature needs. They have always wanted
to paint the picture to friends and neighbours of an ideal and successful
family - which they are obviously only in a superfluous and material sense.
We could ask ourselves why Ben lets his father make a fool of himself,
why Ben doesn't refuse taking a part in these undignified shows, escaping
the parental grip. He is only capable of hesitating for the glimpse of
a moment, but he's not able now to be himself. Time is not ripe for him
Now Ben stands at the bottom of the swimming-pool, with a spear in
his hand. Everything is becoming unclear in this absurd situation; he seems
to have reached the bottom of his life.
Near the end of this situation we can hear a phone call between Ben
and Mrs Robinson in which Ben asks her to meet her. In this dissolve we
can witness the turning-point in his life. With this phone call he tries
to escape from the prison of his family.
|Lois Lowry: The Giver" Describe
the picture and analyse
what in it relates to the novel "The Giver". - Consider also how the people
in the picture seem to react.
The crowd of people in this picture relates to the inhabitants of the
community in the novel “The Giver”. The column with the opened eyes and
opened mouths relates to the Elders who make all rules and all decisions
for the inhabitants of the community. The Elders also tower above the people.
They as well as the column in the picture have an elevated position in
this society. The people are dominated by the Elders. The eyes describe
the surveillance of the inhabitants by the Elders. They are watching all
social spheres and control them by g iving pills to interrupt the stirrings.
The mouths describe this regulation of the people. They tell them what
to do and even choose their assignments, which are given to the people
at the Ceremony of Twelve.
The funnel-shaped device for amplifying the sound of the voice, the
megaphone, describes the loudspeakers in the community. Those loudspeakers
remind the people “that objects are not to be removed from the recreation
area” (p.25, ll.4ff.). But the people do not realise this control. They
seem to scream. Perhaps the inhabitants are also screaming but they do
not achive anything as they believe in the normality of their way of life.
They cannot change the structure of the community. They are only people
without decisions of their own.
by Betti – Gk 12. Jgg.
At first glance the picture only showsa strange column surrounded by
the faces of many people. At second glance it discloses more details which
are even more mysterious. The column (or statue or totem pole or pillar
or phalic symbol) is comparatively massive and widens towards the top on
which a ball is put. Both, the column and the ball, are black. But there
is something exceptional: Eyes and mouths are on the black column. They
are obviously human, nevertheless quite extraordinary and mayby a little
bit scaring in this context.
Scrutinizing the pillar it looks likea body though the legs are missing.
The ball is the head, arms are missing either. The head even shows a kind
The people who surround the black column show only their faces. Their
mouths are widely opened such are their eyes. But they do not look line
wakeful, vigilant citizens.
To begin with the people in the picture and their gestures, I have
to say that they are hard to describe but easy to interpret.
The faces are similar to each other. Not only the copy does not show
anay colours, also the inhabitants of the community in Lois Lowry’s novel
“The Giver” cannot see any colours. The reason for this is the “Sameness”.
If everything is very similar or even alike then there are not many choices
any more. People may make wrong decisions - no one has to protect
people from wrong choices. That is the philosophy of sameness. Paradoxically
the philosophy itself is also a choice. How can we see whether it was a
right one? In fact, our common sense says that the choice to abolish any
choices to protect people from wrong decisions was a wrong choice itself.
The people’s eyes are widely opened, nonetheless the faces seem tired.
Maybe they even are awake but they are not wakeful. Eyes wide shut.
What about the mouths? You can see their teeth. They seem aggressive.
The people in “The Giver’s” world talk much – but do not say anything.
The black body which the crowd surrounds is the incarnation of society.
There you find the eyes and mouths again. They control the people. The
mouth symbolises the voice of the speakers. People have grown together
into a big black body: with mouths, with eyes but witout mind and memory.
by Matthias – Gk 12. Jgg.