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Braddock an Eph?

We have long speculated that protagonist of The Graduate is an Eph. Does the sequel provide proof?

“Home School” by Charles Webb is the sequel to the popular novel “The Graduate,” written in 1963 and made into what is now a classic film in 1967, starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katherine Ross — and directed by Mike Nichols.

The story focuses on 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock, a recent graduate of Massachusetts’ Williams College. He goes home to Pasadena where he meets Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father’s business partner. When she tries to seduce him (nude scene and all), he is shocked — but returns later and initiates an affair with her.

(Actually, Hoffman was 29 at the time while the allegedly much older Anne Bancroft was 35.)

When he meets her daughter, Elaine Robinson, he falls in love with her. That ends dramatically when the affair is discovered. Elaine becomes engaged to a more acceptable young man, but Benjamin can’t get her out of his mind — so he drives a horrendous distance to reach the church in time to stop the wedding.

He is not in time to stop it — but he runs away with Elaine anyway — to the accompaniment of the also famous Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack (“Mrs. Robinson” was the hit single), and the marriage is annulled.

This is the first time that I have ever seen it stated as fact that Braddock, like Webb ’61, is a graduate of Williams. Neither the orginal book nor movie make that claim directly, although the book begins with a line about Braddock graduating from a small college in June. Previous speculation here, and note the part about Mrs. Robinson being inspired, at least in name, by an Eph mom. Was there a Robinson in the class of 1961? We need to get to the bottom of that story.

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#1 Comment By frank uible On January 21, 2008 @ 10:00 am

Drop the tacky process of trying to track the real Mrs. Robinson!

#2 Comment By David On January 21, 2008 @ 10:58 am

1) We are not looking for a Mrs. Robinson who comitted adultery with a young Eph, Frank, as interesting as that search might be. We are looking for a Mrs. Robinson who was so good looking that she inspired Webb and, according to those links, took pleasure in telling her friends the tail. She would now be about 90. Surely, if she is alive, she would have no problem with us knowing the story . . .

2) There is some discussion at WSO where, again, people mess some things up. Don’t kids today read EphBlog!

#3 Comment By frank uible On January 21, 2008 @ 11:39 am

The real Mrs. Robinson’s (if she exists) children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would be considerably younger than 90 years old, and at least one is a, and possibly others might be, fellow Eph(s), who might be embarassed by publicity about granny’s youthful indescretions.

#4 Comment By ronit On January 22, 2008 @ 12:43 am

The real question is, was Frank Uible the real-life model for Ben Braddock?