Post Graduation Potential
Benjamin Braddock from The Graduate comes from an affluent family, holds impressive merits, and can achieve success in any career pathway. The film showcases Benjamin's unlimited potential, which many adults generally perceive young men to have after graduation. The movie poses the question, what will a young man showing signs of future success in America do next? While Ben comes from a wealthy family and has an excellent educational background, many people can relate to his predicament about trying to figure out what one will do with themselves.
Benjamin experiences social pressure to already have a career path and meet artificial milestones, but this leaves him in a state of distress and confusion. For example, "Ben...wants [his future] to be 'different'. However, his parents and their friends affirm the model graduate he is similar to them, only better" (Grindon 140). Benjamin's parents and their friends surmounted many obstacles to compensate for what their parents could not achieve during a period of difficulty. However, it seems that Benjamin's successful parents want Benjamin to surpass their ambitions.
Friends of Benjamin's parents swarm him with questions and praise upon his arrival home. He sees himself teetering on the edge of messing up his own life as he observes those around him who already have. For instance, "Mrs. Robinson uses adultery as a means of compensating for the disappointments in her life" (Grindon 141). In perspective, Benjamin can accomplish an equal amount to what the party guests already achieved, but they continue to fawn over him. While he could take one of the partygoer's advice by aggressively chasing his future career in business and lie to himself about his interest in plastics, ultimately, it would not bring him absolute happiness.