The Graduate (1967)


The Graduate (1967)

IMPORTANT: This is a very rough and general deconstruction that is meant to simply illustrate that this story follows the pattern described on the main page.

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FADE IN: meeting the Hero / going on a journey: Ben in the aircraft; arriving in the airport.

Time Pressure: parking limited to 3 minutes only.

Herald: Ben's father asks him to come downstairs, to meet the guests / friends.

Resistance to the Journey: Ben hesitates to go downstairs; he is worried about his future.

Creatures of the Ordinary World: meeting the guests downstairs.

Hero's Capabilities: hey “trackstar”; I want to hear all about that award you won.

Hero's Status: we're so proud of you.

Pushed towards a Transformation: what are you going to do now? About your future? There's a great future in plastics…

Hero's backstory: Someone reads Ben's yearbook.

Forced to a Journey: I have to get out of here; Ben goes upstairs to be alone.

Meeting the Mentor / Shape Shifter / Antagonist: Mrs Robinson finds Ben in the room alone.

Antagonist familiar with the Hero: …the track star doesn't smoke….

Call to Adventure: will you drive me home?

Refusal: take the car; do you know how to work a foreign shift?

Time Pressure: lets go.

Pushed to the First Threshold: will you come in please, until I get the lights on.

Crossing the Threshold Marker: would you mind walking in front of me into the house; the main door.

Resisting the Outer Cave: I was glad to drive you home but I have some things to think about.

Pulled in: please wait until my husband comes in.

Rules: I'm very neurotic.

Outer Cave Trial: you didn't think I'd do something like that did you, Mrs Robinson; Mrs Robinson you're trying to seduce me.

Resisting the Middle Cave: are you trying to seduce me? I'm not sure.

Meeting the Romantic Challenge: Elaine's room and her portrait.

Middle Cave: will you unzip my dress; I think I'll go to bed.

Resisting the Inner Cave: what if Mr Robinson were to walk in now? Would you like me to seduce you?

Pushed to the Inner Cave: would you bring up my purse; I'm putting it on the top step; will you stop acting this way and bring it inside.

Inner Cave: Mrs Robinson naked; I want you to know I'm available for you; if you won't sleep with me now you can call me anytime.

Forced out of the Inner Cave: Mr Robinson arrives.

Pushed to the Belly of the Whale: I think you should take it easy; sow a few wild oats; have a few flings this summer.

Resisting the Conscious Decision: do I have to do this?

Conscious Decision: diving into the pool sequence.

Goodbye to the Old Self: the fading image.

Belly of the Whale: Ben calls Mrs Robinson from the hotel; give me an hour.

Creatures of this World: the people in the hotel.

Threshold Guardian: the hotel receptionist.

Creatures of this World: the people in the party.

Fish out of Water: Ben is uncomfortable and out of place in the hotel and nervous when Mrs Robinson arrives.

Threshold Guardian: getting a room from reception.

Pushing to the Physical Separation: Ben phones Mrs Robinson and gives her the room number.

Fearing the World of the Transformation: Ben anxious in the room.

Resisting the Physical Separation: Mrs Robinson undresses; I can't do this.

Pushed to the Physical Separation: is this your first time?

Physical Separation: I am not inadequate.

Transformation and Trials 1:

New Self: Ben with glasses in the pool.

Being undressed by Mrs Robinson.

Goodbye to the Old Self: closing the door on Mom and Pop.

Watching TV in the room with Mrs Robinson; she leaves.

Foreshadow of the Romantic Challenge: What are you doing Ben? Elaine is coming down from Berkeley, why don't you give her a call?

Mom asks Ben where he goes when he stays away all night.

Transformation and Trials 2:

Antagonist's Backstory: Mrs Robinson, could we have a conversation this time? Having a conversation; Mrs Robinson got married because she got pregnant.

Interdiction: don't talk about Elaine; don't you ever take that girl out.

Ben starts to walk out; Mrs Robinson persuades him to promise never to take out Elaine.

Transformation and Trials 3:

Pushed to the Trial: Pop encourages Ben to ask Elaine out.

Resisting the Trial: Mrs Robinson is angry; Ben tells her he won't see her again.

Ben takes Elaine to a strip joint; Elaine cries and Ben chases her, explains and then kisses her; he has a compulsion that he has to be rude all the time.

Meeting the Oracle: it's still early, lets go somewhere else.

Journey to the Sword:

Recognised as Mr Gladstone at the Taft Hotel.

Ben tells Elaine that he had an affair with a married woman and that it's all over now.

Seizing the Sword: I want to; arranging a date for tomorrow. The kiss.

Night Sea Journey: Mrs Robinson gets in the car and threatens to tell Elaine everything. Ben runs to Elaine.

Near Death Experience: Mrs Robinson appears and Elaine realizes the truth.

Ben watches Elaine leave.

Rebirth: Ben tells Pop that he is going to marry Elaine.

Atonement with the Father:

Driving to Berkeley; spotting Elaine.

Getting a room.

Watching and following Elaine; running after her in the bus; talking to her in the bus.

Elaine meets Carl at the zoo.

Apotheosis: Elaine comes into the Elaine's room; Ben tells her he loves her; Ben tells Elaine that he didn't rape his mother; Elaine screams; Elaine is OK, she's drinking a glass of water; I want you out because I don't like you; Elaine doesn't want him to go.

Ultimate Boon:

Elaine comes back into Ben's room; will you kiss me. Will you marry me etc.

Refusal / Denial / Disgust: Mr Robinson appears; he and Mrs Robinson are getting divorced. I will get you arrested if you ever look at Elaine again; get outta here.

Magic Flight:

Elaine has left school. She leaves a note.

Ben drives back home.

Ben sneaks into the Robinson's home; Mrs Robinson calls the police.

Time Pressure: sorry you won't be invited to the wedding.

Rescue from Without: Ben finds out where Carl is getting married from his classmates.

Crossing the Return Threshold:

Stops off at the gas station to find out which church.

Gas runs out and he runs.

Knocks on the glass window.

Final Antagonism: Ben sees the post-ceremony kiss.

Master of Two Worlds: Elaine calls for Ben; he gets past Mr and Mrs Robinson; they run; into the bus.

Freedom to Live: smiling in the bus.



by Kal Bashir