Sun 1 Jul 2007
Did anybody read the Charles Webb ’61 article from two days ago? If so, how could you resist commenting on this part.
Although – to his considerable regret – Webb was never seduced by an older woman, Benjamin in The Graduate was pretty much a self-portrait: same background, same gaucheness, same disillusion with parental values.
Over the decades, Webb has become used to hearing people speculate – often authoritatively – about whom Mrs Robinson was based on.
In fact, she had a pretty hazy genesis. Although Webb’s own mother-in-law might seem the obvious candidate, she couldn’t stand him, regarding him as a quite unsuitable partner for her daughter.
However, there was one occasion when he passed the open door of her bathroom and saw her naked, stepping out of the shower. Webb insists that he wasn’t in the least aroused, but suspects the incident may have flicked a switch somewhere inside him.
Her name, meanwhile, came from a classmate in college whom Webb hardly knew. In adulthood, he met up with the classmate again, and learnt that the boy’s mother had been going around for years proudly claiming – with some justification – to be the real Mrs Robinson.
Mrs. Robinson was an Eph Mom! (I do not think that she is the commentator who goes by “ephmom” in these parts.) Perfect. And the “self-portrait” description means we can conclude that Benjamin Braddock (the Dustin Hoffman character) attended Williams. Too bad we could never confirm that he wears a Williams tie in the opening montage.
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