Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ReView of THE GRADUATE by Charles Webb ; ambiguity, infidelity, roles of men and women,


It's been a while since I read this book, a couple of months, actually. I can barely remember the plot.  I did bookmark a quote that I wanted to remember about it.  It really fully represents what I thought of it at the time I finished it.  "A brilliantly sordid tale of a young man's search for identity and a portrayal of the worst-behaved yet most sympathetic anti-heroes of the day."

I have ambiguous feelings about this book. Even though it was quite boring and sort of stale, I found it to be interesting in some spots and pretty controversial at other moments.  It's a simple book on the surface, but you can really dig deeper at some significant plot themes.  This is the basic story line.  'The Graduate' is the story of a young man who has just graduated from college, a path he had taken to become a teacher.  Upon graduation, he finds himself doubting his direction about attaining his long life dream.  As a result of this confusing state of mind, he makes some decisions which further spirals him into the oblivion of disillusionment.  The book then continues to give us an account of his actions and consequences....

When you peel away at the layers of the story you realize there are more significant factors at work.  He is a young adult who has been brought up with values and morals of right and wrong, to stand by and do the 'right thing.'  Yet, he finds himself going against all that he has grown to know and all that he has been taught otherwise NOT TO DO.  He even finds himself admitting all this when he's about to have an affair with a married woman, who on top of it all, is a family friend.

The roles of a man and woman, and 'standard' definitions of what men and women do are definitely well played throughout the book.  Things such as: men will never stand to be insulted in their manhood...and they'll stand to prove you otherwise, leaving all else behind; once a man sets his mind to something he doesn't care about much else; a woman will think of others as she makes a decision, and probably the first person will be her father; a woman knows what's good for her unless she's constantly pressured or persuaded that love is more important than anything; women care about the consequences of their presence; women want the men to feel them and know them whereas men want to be told much of everything straight out.  In these ways, it is a very 'typical' book on the relationships of men and women, it speaks to the general masses.  I think it had some stereotypical characters that spoke, probably, to the generation of the time of the publication.  Although, it has lasted over decades, so there must be some appealing factor to this book.  Maybe even if we do relate superficially and in short-handed relations to this book, it is still a book worth knowing about.

Yea, so as I said before, I have mixed feelings about this book, but definitely well written.  The text is easy to get through and the story line isn't half bad since it's so controversial.







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