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Word Count: 778
The film The Graduate is seemingly divided into two sections Benjamins relationship with Mrs Robinson and his relationship with Elaine These two relationships although very different are inter-related An integral part of the film is that Benjamin is forced to choose between the two women representing different morals and values It seems to be obvious that Benjamin chooses Elaine but a closer look at the ending has the viewer wondering if he is happy with his decision The first section of the film which concentrates on Bens relationship with Mrs Robinson foreshadows the events to come Mrs Robinson sexually forthright and wise seduces the innocent Ben a true cipher incapable of action or decision Immediately she becomes the predator always dressed in animal prints and surrounded by jungle like settings It seems clear that while Ben and Mrs Robinson are the focus of the film at this point we are encouraged to formulate a more traditional and acceptable theme Despite Mrs Robinsons dominance the presence of Elaine Robinson literally hangs over these early scenes Mrs Robinson takes Ben to her home shows him Elaines portrait which hangs on the wall in her bedroom The use of the portrait and numerous references to her impending arrival firmly establish Elaine in the plot yet she remains unrevealed through the first half of the film Elaine Robinsons portrait forces us to acknowledge her presence and her relevance to the conflict to be resolved The fact that Mrs Robinson seduces Ben in Elaines room under the innocent painted gaze of her daughter only reinforces the inevitable clash that will occur Elaine continues to haunt Ben ghost-like for the first half of the film our eventual meeting with her cements the understanding that Elaine is to be the primary love interest In direct contrast to her mother there is nothing deceptive about Elaine she lives up to the purity of her portrait while Mrs Robinson becomes alternately spiteful
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