Paper Two

Paper Two - Yip 1 Stacey Yip Lester OConnor DOC 3: A18 24...

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Yip 1 Stacey Yip Lester O’Connor DOC 3: A18 24 May 2010 The Struggle of the Generation Gap The 1960s in America was a time of new beginnings as many cultural movements emerged. Among these movements was the youth culture movement, where a new generation of teenagers began to find their own voice in society. With this new voice came rebellion towards the cultural norms that were expected of them from their parents. Professor David Serlin calls this the rise of the counterculture, which he defines as “challenges to the mainstream or consensus understanding of historical events.” This counterculture that emerged among the youth persuaded their generation to be independent by going against the consensus created by their parents, but it was often a struggle for teenagers to choose between conforming to their parents’ wishes and following the present movement happening in society. The 1967 film, The Graduate , represents this newfound rebellion, particularly in the birthday scene of the protagonist, Benjamin Braddock. Ben’s father begins the scene by announcing to the guests that he has gotten Ben a great birthday present – a scuba diving suit. Giving a speech, he brags about his son to the audience while Ben refuses to come out. Eventually, Ben’s father forces him to come out to the backyard with his suit on, and he and Ben’s mother push him into the pool to show the guests the functionality of the present. In this scene, director Mike Nichols employs various elements of film to show the suffocation Ben feels from his parents’ expectations, demonstrating the struggle between conformity and independence for teenagers in the 1960s, and further highlighting the ever increasing generation gap between teenagers and their parents.
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Yip 2 Nichols employs the mise-en-scène element of film in order to depict the struggle teenagers faced in voicing their own opinions or conforming to their parents’ expectations. Mise-en-scène is French for “putting on stage,” meaning how the visual materials are staged; this includes what is seen in a particular shot, choreography, and production design. In the beginning of the scene, Ben’s father gives a speech before presenting Ben in his birthday present. He speaks of Ben’s accomplishments and his manhood now that he is twenty-one and a graduate of college: Ben’s Father: “I’m going to ask for a big round of applause for this…young man to come out here because he’s twenty one years old…Are you ready Benjamin?” Ben: “Dad, can I talk to you for a second?”
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Paper Two - Yip 1 Stacey Yip Lester OConnor DOC 3: A18 24...

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