Journal assignment completed for “The Self Before Selfies”
Watching this film was incredibly frustrating. I have no sympathy for Ben and his actions, and I question Elaine’s ability to make rational decisions. However, I think the same for Mrs. Robinson and Ben. I have heard that many struggle with life after graduation from a four-year institution because most of their lives were centered on education. Once that chapter ends, they are left to explore a whole other world without much guidance. I think this is depicted through his relationship with Mrs. Robinson. When they first begin their affair, Ben is clueless and a stammering mess, so he follows Mrs. Robinson’s lead and continues their affair. Eventually, he cuts her loose, and only then does he begin to feel confident in his life choices. Regardless, I do not think that justifies Ben’s poor decision-making. Ben is stuck with an existential crisis concerning what he will do now that he has graduated. Because of this, he burdened himself with having to choose between Elaine and her mother. Mrs. Robinson has her own existential issues. She married Mr. Robinson because she was pregnant and never pursued her passion for art, so she seeks an outlet through Ben and substances like alcohol. Ben strikes a nerve when he ends it with her, commenting on how she wasted her life. She holds this against him and tells Elaine that he raped her which was completely aggravating. To top it off, Mrs. Robinson gets Elaine to marry Carl. I thought that was counterintuitive since parents typically want their children to avoid making similar/the same mistakes, but Mrs. Robinson was in deep.