A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to my Simon and Garfunkel CD and thought, "Huh. I've never seen the Graduate. You know, I'm about to graduate - it's an appropriate time to watch it!" So, a couple of days before I graduated, I watched The Graduate. I absolutely loved it. If you haven't seen it, rent it soon! It's certainly not a feel good movie, but it made me feel the awkwardness and sadness and desperation of the characters. It presented some good themes, and I enjoyed the symbolism. Since watching it, I've found myself reimagining scenes and thinking about lines and moments. There's something about it that I just can't shake.
I wasn't expecting to find many commonalities between myself and Dustin Hoffman's character, Benjamin Braddox. I'm not having any affairs with older men (or women). Like I've talked about in the previous post, I have a direction and I'm not just drifting by or floating around in the sea of life. But, one scene that I did connect with was the very first one, when Benjamin is at the graduation party his parents are hosting and some woman (his mother? a friend?) off screen starts going off, "Look, here's Benjamin's college year book. Look at this, his junior year he was Assistant Editor, his senior year he was Editor in Chief, and Captain of the Debate Team . . . " and before she can continue, Benjamin runs upstairs to escape it all. Even when I first watched that scene, I cringed and completely understood why Ben wouldn't want to hear this lady bragging about him.
The day of my graduation, I felt excited and proud of myself, but always felt awkward when someone commented on how many things were around my neck. I loved getting my picture taken with the Chancellor beforehand, but hated the moment myself and a few others stood above the seated sea of purple. With all my peers staring, I just wanted to hide and didn't want to stand out at all. The evening after my graduation, at home, my parents started talking about that moment. "How great that must have felt, staring down at the sea of other graduates." And then they continued, talking about my honors and my GPA, while I just wanted to run up to my room and sit in from of my fishtank and stare at the wall. I didn't run, and I don't have a fishtank, so I just sat and nodded and faked agreement with them.
Later, as I was reflecting on all these feelings, I wondered where they came from. Why do I often feel so uncomfortable hearing praises about myself? While I don't ever desire mediocrity, why do I not want to stand out, and just want to blend in with the crowd? Is it humility? Or insecurity?
On a different note, I find it amusing that Anne Bancroft, who's character is supposed to be old enough to be Benjamin's mother, in real life was only 6 years older than Dustin Hoffman, who was 30 when the film was made.