In this comprehensive article, Robert Beuka looks at Mike Nichols’ The Graduate in the context of the expanding suburban landscape of the 1950s and 1960s. He addresses The Graduate as a coming of age film in which Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is faced with the challenges of growing up and becoming a man in an increasingly materialistic world. Benjamin’s fear of entering this world is both explicitly and implicitly referred to from the opening scene until the conclusion of the film. The title of this article, “Just One World… ‘PLASTICS’” alludes to the piece of advice that Benjamin’s father’s friend, Mr. McGuire, imposes upon Benjamin in the very beginning of the film and, according to Beuka, serves as an “apt metaphor for the very lifestyle Ben fears he may be on the verge of entering.” Beuka asserts that Benjamin represents the entire generation of young males facing adulthood in this highly materialistic and contrived environment of upper middle class suburbia. Plastic is highly representative of the empty and superficial nature of this suburban lifestyle, as is the recurring use of the swimming pool, which not only illustrates materialism, but also symbolizes the “self-destructive narcissism of the suburban dream.” Beuka also focuses on the issue of masculinity and the theme of suburban emasculation. The insecurity inherent in the image of the utopian patriarchal family led to a repressive role for adult males, who were trapped in an almost childlike state. It is this predetermined role and “plastic” lifestyle, which Benjamin sees his father living, that he fears most.Essentially, Beuka argues that Nichols uses the setting of upper middle class suburbia, complete with its big houses, nice cars, and abundant swimming pools, to highlight the view of postwar suburbia as vacuous and unfulfilling. This view, which just was emerging as the children of the suburban experience were entering adulthood, and the recurring theme of entrapment, facilitated by the underwater scenes in the swimming pool, are illustrated by the relationship between Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson. Their affair serves as an “oedipal reaction to his parents’ denial of his own manhood” and embodies his constant struggle to break away from the restrictions placed on him by his parents and his suburban lifestyle. The final scene of the film in which he flees on a bus with Elaine, his girlfriend, demonstrates his triumph over these restraints.