A world without rebels would be a world with no change. If specific groups didn’t escape the status quo, life would essentially go on as if it were put on repeat. Nothing would ever change, and nothing new would ever be accomplished. And most importantly, there would be no distinguishing factors between any two generations. Generations are shaped by the exclusive social changes that transpire over a given time period. Each generation desperately wants to set themselves apart by challenging the values and morals of the ones who came before them.
They rebel against everything they were once taught in order to be independent and live a appy life. These rebellions have shaped American society for decades. Mike Nichol’s film, The Graduate, tells the story of a young man’s rebellion against his family and against society. The story unfolds in the nineteen sixties during a time of a major cultural change. In The Graduate, Benjamin Braddock consistently rebels against everything he believes in, which doesn’t stray far from the typical behavior of most youth in the nineteen sixties. Rebellion is a recurring theme throughout Nichol’s film.
The main character, Benjamin Braddock, had Just graduated college and had no definite plan for his uture endeavors. On the other hand, Benjamin’s overbearing parents practically had his life laid out for him. As soon as he returned home from graduating college they constantly pestered him about attending graduate school. At the time, the thought of attending graduate school or starting a career stressed Benjamin out, and he admitted that he was nervous about his future. At his graduation party he told his father that he wishes that his future could be “different”, but his father did not seem to care about Benjamin’s uncertainties.
Therefore, he followed what most kids is age were doing in the sixties and rebelled against conformity. In the nineteen sixties the youth rebellion was in full swing. The youth wanted freedom from the previous ways of the generation before them, so they began to rebel. The rebellion was massive because the current youth was comprised of the baby-boomer generation (“Rebellion and Reaction”). In fact it was so big that it gave the nineteen sixties the common nicknames of “the rebellious decade” and “the period of turmoil” (Bodroghkozy).
The nineteen sixtys counterculture rebelled in various ways, but defying parental authorities was among the most popular. They wanted to ensure that their values and behaviors deviated from those of their parents. It was important to them that they made a new life for themselves that was for their own happiness and not for their parent’s happiness (“Rebellion and Reaction”). They were striving to make their futures different Just like Benjamin Braddock wanted his future to be. Parents were always trying to map out their children’s futures, but the rebellious youth of the nineteen sixties were all but willing to allow that to happen.
Benjamin Braddock did everything he could to escape from his parent’s high expectations. They were constantly telling him what to do and when to do it. However, Benjamin continued to ignore their constant demands and did the exact opposite of what he was told. He rebelled because he wanted to make himself happy betore pleasing his parents He was not ready to s tart a career or turtner his education; all he wanted to do was relax by his parent’s pool and not worry about his future Just yet. The scene at his 21st birthday party finally allowed him to tune out the sound of his parents.
He was given a scuba suit and was forced to test it out in front of everyone who was at his party. After he was forced into the pool, he found himself standing still at the bottom. He was finally alone and was not able to hear any of the noise coming from above the water. The camera angle shifted and was now from the perspective of Benjamin. It showed him looking up out of the water at his parents shouting at him, but he was not able to comprehend any of the words being yelled at him. This was Just the start of his rebellion against his parents.
The fact that he was underwater symbolized that Benjamin felt like his parents were drowning him in all of their expectations. He was suffocating and was finally able to be at peace at the bottom of the pool. The majority of the youth at this time was searching for peace, and the only way of obtaining it was to rebel against the conformity of their parents. They all felt like they were being drowned; therefore they continued to rebel in ways that disgusted their parents and even disgraced society. The nineteen sixties was a time to experiment. The youth was trying so hard to change society and find a new identity for themselves.
They did everything they could to stray away from what was considered normal. Drugs and sex played a major role in the youth’s rebellion against society, and it was definitely a culture shock. During this time period, casual sex became more acceptable and a majority of the youth participated in it. It became so popular that it earned the name “free sex” and everyone was made aware of it (“Rebellion and Reaction”). It was mostly popular among the younger generation, but that didn’t stop Benjamin Braddock from pursuing an older woman. He engaged himself in a long-term affair with one of his parent’s friends.
In the beginning he was very hesitant and nervous about the affair ut soon realized that it was the nineteen sixties and it was the start of the “free love” era. He became more comfortable with the affair as the movie went on. By committing adultery with Mrs. Robinson, Benjamin Braddock clearly destroyed all moral values of the generation that came before him. This kind of behavior was not acceptable for the previous generation but became a trend during his time. The counterculture strayed far away from the traditional values of their parents and “this marked the beginning of the sexual revolution” (“Primary Menu”).
It was one of the iggest societal changes during the sixties. The affair between Mrs. Robinson and Benjamin Braddock was a little different from what was actually acceptable in the nineteen sixties. “Free sex” was acceptable; however, affairs were not. He soon realized that what he was doing was wrong and immediately put a stop to the affair. Even though he ended the affair, it was still understandable as to why he got himself into that position in the first place. Benjamin Braddock was Just trying to fit in with the rest of his generation in the sixties by rebelling against conformity.
The sexual evolution was among the most rebellious acts of the nineteen sixties. The more Benjamin Braddock’s parents pushed him, the more he rebelled. Not only did he rebel against going to graduate school and starting a career but he also had a scandalous long-term affair with one of his parent’s close friends. Both acts were done to rebel against the contormity ot his parents and against society . Instead of conforming to the high expectations of his parents and society, Benjamin Braddock took a different path to ensure his own happiness. He follows his own heart and defies the path that was mapped out for him.
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