I watched The Graduate last night. It’s so interesting to see it again as an adult. I think that when I first saw it, I had really no idea what it was about. The music meant more to me then what was happening to Ben. I understood parts of it – big parts: Ben has no idea what he’s going to do with his life. Clearly Ben’s family and friends are caught up in the trappings of success, and they expect Ben to jump on board the available gravy train, with no questions asked.
Mrs. Robinson is the physical manifestation of the gravy train. I understand that now, but I’m not sure I had lived long enough to really get what she represented at the time. I saw it more as an issue of conformity in an absurd world whose priorities were upside down. After all, Viet Nam was in full swing in 1967. Interestingly, Ben stayed in college and avoided the war. So he already was part of the gravy train mentality to a point. But I’m getting off track.
That last scene is what I’ve been thinking about, when Ben and Elaine run away from the church and get on the bus (Total Digression Alert: Ken Keasey would have said that Ben’s decision missed the point entirely, because: “You’re either on the bus, or you’re off the bus,” or off the grid completely, according to Keasey.)
I love the ending. I’m not sure I know what happens next, because Ben and Elaine are not really riding off into the sunset. But they’re happy. What do you think happens next?