In "The Graduate" this scene works on many levels. Not only is Mr. McQuire inadvertantly describing himself, but in real world terms, there really was money in plastics. His conviction is not only plausible but understandable. How easy it is to make the subtle shift in life to a pursuit of money. It's all so acceptable - even "responsible". But for Benjiman, it means giving up all that means anything to him.
It's in this scene Ben finds himself utterly alone in the world. He has no one he can talk to of what's important to him. Ben can justify or explain himself to no one. He's surrounded by people who want him to become as they are. It's his dread of this this cold fate that is a driving force throughout the entire movie.
Plastic - it is something to be feared.
"I want it to be...different." - Benjamin Braddock on his future.
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