Jackson, Laura. Paul Simon: the Definitive Biography. London: Judy Piatkus Limited, 2002. 103-119.
Call#: ML420.S563 J33 2002
In this wonderful biography of American musician Paul Simon, author Laura Jackson analyzes the artist's entire life and its influence on the music that he made. In the chapter entitled "Flying High", Jackson discusses The Graduate Soundtrack and its impact on the music scene of that time. The soundtrack was unbelievably successful for both the movie and the duo Simon and Garfunkel. As an album it was #1 in the U.S. and #3 in Great Britain. Also, Mrs. Robinson was the #1 single in the states. For four months the #1 album in the U.S. was either the soundtrack or Bookends, the group's following album. She notes that The Graduate was one of the first major movies to have a totally Rock and Roll soundtrack. The album Bookends was innovative in that it was one of the first to use multi-tracking vocals. Jackson notes that critics had always noticed Simon's affinity for writing introspectively about alienation. Professor Iwan Morgan states that "Many of Paul Simon's 1960s' songs have a sense of alienation and loss of identity with the values that American kids had been taught to respect...For the college-educated segment of the 1960s generation this was a result of their alienation from their parents' values of material gain, personal advancement in the workplace and a hierarchically structured society."
With Paul Simon's peculiar personality and his ability to transfer that to his music, he was a perfect choice to score The Graduate. Benjamin Braddock's character is exactly like Simon in that he feels a loss of identity with his parent's generation. While they expect him to find a job immediately after college he prefers to relax and drink beer next to the pool. He also rejects their common institutions and values of marriage by sleeping with Mrs. Robinson, who is both a married woman and a friend of his parents. Paul Simon's unique view on life and alienation from society is exactly what Benjamin Braddock is trying to show the viewer.