When I first watched Forrest Gump I did not realize how much of a variety it has until I watched it again, from action and war, right to love and romance.
Forrest is definitely a man to defeat so many hardships and continue to live his joyful life. Forrest provides a unique contrast to early adult behavior. This contrast between typical life events and a slower than normal development shows that some expectations about cognitive abilities may not be as important. Even those who are considered “slow” by the mainstream population can be successful and live a life full of typical life events that fall within a typical timeframe. The movie begins with Forrest’s childhood, his mom had such high expectations of Forrest. Due to his mental disabilities, he was the victim of academic discrimination which also led to bullying. Despite his normal physical attributes, Forrest is behind cognitively.
One indicator of this is his lack of thinking about his future. He falls into activities like college and the Army and doesn’t have to worry about them at all. During this time of life, many people experience a change in thinking as they reach what is known as “Post formal stage” of thinking. This is an extension of Piaget’s theory and incorporates the combination of emotion and logic in adult thinking.
Forrest does not reach this level and is basically stuck somewhere between middle/late childhood and early adolescence. He doesn’t realize that most ideas are provisional rather than permanent. In his mind, once he believes something or find something out, he believes it as true.
There is no room for adjustment or change over time His mom believes in him and wants him to be the best he can be. In Erikson’s industry vs. inferiority concept, during the stage of where Forrest is at in this point of the movie, he is supposed to be working towards mastering knowledge and intellectual skills. As the movie goes on Forrest grows and his disability is still with him, but this does not stop Forrest from being an athlete. He is fast, strong, and healthy, he got asked to play football at the University of Alabama and graduates. While all of this is happening, Forrest is trying to figure out who he is and what he is going to do with his life, that is Erikson’s identity vs.
identity confusions stage. Forrest was an active part of the Vietnam War, anti-war activism, Black Panther Party meetings, and the Ping Pong diplomacy period. Those important events should have made a difference to him, but he went through it all as if it didn’t really affect him.
During the whole movie he seemed completely oblivious to the significance of everything that was going on around him and the part he played in those events. He is able to make friends, including Jenny, Bubba, and Lieutenant Dan. His idea of friendship is very basic and either people are his friends or they’re not.
He doesn’t complicate things and wonder what people really mean or what they really think of him. Trust and loyalty are important to him and he would do anything for the people close to him. He does not participate in some activities that are often seen in young adulthood such as drinking, partying, and drug use. This has an effect on him in many aspects including socially and physically. Socially he is left out because of many reasons, but one is because he isn’t comfortable with situations that include sex and drinking.
There are risks involved in drinking and unprotected sex, and since he does not participate, he’s not at risk at the same levels as some of his peers, such as Jenny. Forrest’s generally happy go lucky demeanor and unobservant nature contrasted harshly with Jenny.Jenny as a child was Forrest Gump’s best friend and only friend.
Jenny has a much harsher life at home than Forrest has. While Forrest has a loving mother that raises him Jenny has an abusive dad. Jenny spent a lot of time with Forrest as a child because she didn’t want to be alone. When they were young Jenny taught Forrest how to read.
When Jenny went through Erikson’s identity vs. identity confusion stage her past abuse caused her to make the wrong choices and left her in continued identity confusion. Each time we see Jenny in the movie she is into drugs and running with the wrong crowd. During the adult years, people who were abused as children often have a difficulty maintaining healthy adult relationships.By the end of the movie, Jenny has finally found herself. After Forrest spent his time after her leaving running for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours she finally wants to see him. From their night together she had gotten pregnant and had a son that she named Forrest. Perhaps it was having a child that helped settle Jenny into adulthood or maybe she had just finally come to terms with the lasting effects of abuse, but she decided to marry Forrest and live with him for her remaining time alive.
In that time that she is a wife and mother she looks more at peace than ever. It took Jenny her whole life to come to terms with the abuse she endured as a child and the abuse she subjected herself to as an adult. This film dealt a lot with death and accepting death as a part of life. Forrest has to go through the death of several people he cares about.
First he endured Bubba’s death whom he had planned a future and had become close friends. Then he survived the death of his mother. She was the only person in his entire life that he could always count on.
Just before her death Forrest’s mother tells him one last time how proud of him she is and reminds him the “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”, she says that it was her destiny to raise Forrest. She was always there for him, and rooting for him, and telling him that he could be whatever he wanted to be. Her death was a tough thing to work through and for a time he completely left the boat and company to Lt.
Dan and stayed at his mother’s home, taking care of things and grieving. Then eventually he had to endure the death of Jenny. He had loved Jenny his whole life then it seemed almost as soon as they were finally together she had died. Forrest’s emotions for Jenny come out at her grave, and while there he leaves her a letter written by Forrest Jr. As the film closes Forrest Jr is at the bus stop and we are reminded of Forrest’s first bus ride and how far he has come since his days of being bullied. The feather that was in the beginning is at the end as well symbolizing destiny. Forrest himself says “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.
” Forrest couldn’t have put it into better words. During his story we see several characters and watch their life unfold. We know that Lt. Dan had his own ideas for his destiny then his life turned out completely different. Jenny never had a clear path for her destiny, and Forrest only ever wanted to love and be loved by Jenny. Often times in early adulthood, many people acknowledge the idea of a social clock and that there is a set time for certain events to occur. There is a broad range for many of these things and they often depend on gender and socioeconomic status.
Although Forrest is not at the same level in many ways developmentally, he is able to keep up with the social clock. He goes to college at 18, enters the Army in his early-twenties, starts a business after the war, is really successful at that business and makes enough money to retire, has a child in his early-thirties, gets married in his early to mid-thirties, then spends the rest of his time taking care of his son. Although there are some variations to what is expected, he follows it fairly closely. In many cases, it would seem ideal to be married first, and then have children, but it’s not that uncommon for things to occur as they did with Forrest.
The fact that he was able to achieve these events in a similar timeframe as his peers shows that maybe his developmental disparities are not as severe as everyone wanted them to seem and that maybe he wasn’t as different as everyone thought.By watching this movie, it’s easy to see that Forrest Gump is not developing at a normal rate. He’s not the same as his peers, and it’s apparent throughout the film. By taking a closer look it can be seen that despite his developmental downfalls, he was able to achieve a successful life by many standards. Perhaps even more successful than he would have without his “slowness.” It’s important to realize that maybe the norms that we believe to be ideal may not be so and perhaps our idea of what is normal and ideal should be broadened to include people who develop at all rates.