Watching Forrest Gump for the first time I feel that the movie has a little of everything in it, from action and war to love and romance. For one man to overcome so many hardships and live a life full of love and happiness it is inspiring. Each character had something that reached viewers. From Jenny to Lieutenant Dan they all had something that made them easy to connect with. Even the people that sat on the bench next to Forrest created interest; they listened and were in the story for us, but were not truly part of it.
Forrest Gump could be referred to as stupid, but I believe that the way he tries to understand the world around him and make the best of everything is rather clever. When the film begins we start from Forrest’s childhood. We learn about the high expectations that his mother had for him. We see that he is lonely, and we see his growing love for Jenny. For a boy that is bullied so much and has so many obstacles in his life he loves deeply. Due to his mental disabilities, Forrest became the victim of academic discrimination, but as she will always be him mother fights for him to have the same opportunities as the other children. She completely believes in Forrest and wants him to be the best that he can be. During this stage of his life I thought of Erikson’s industry vs. inferiority concept. During that time children are supposed to work toward mastering knowledge and intellectual skills. (Santrock, 2011 p23) The negative possibility of not mastering those skills would be that children would feel incompetent and unproductive.
As Forrest Gump grows he still maintains his mental disability, but his athletic abilities have started to make a difference in his life. He runs so fast that he gets asked to play football for the University of Alabama. Though he grows older he still has the innocence of a child. During his adolescence where most other people are experimenting with sex he seems almost upset by the idea. He loves Jenny yet when she tries for sexual contact with him he looks hurt and confused by it. This stage in his life he would be going through Erikson’s identity vs. identity confusion. (Santrock, 2011 p 23) During this time individuals are trying to figure out who they are and what they are going to do in life. If the adolescent explores in a healthy way then they will form a positive identity; however, if they struggle and have a difficult time then it may result in continued identity confusion.
Forrest was an active part of many important events including protests against desegregation, 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. Forrest’s generally happy go lucky demeanor and unobservant nature contrasted harshly with Jenny.
Jenny Curran as a child was Forrest Gump’s best friend and possibly his 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. Jenny and Forrest were like “peas and carrots”. When they were young Jenny taught Forrest how to read, and Forrest shared his mellow, carefree attitude with her. When Jenny is young after Forrest comes over to her house and sees the way her father treats her they run into the fields trying to get as far away from her home as possible. Jenny falls down to the ground and prays to God to make her a bird so she can fly far away. There are many developmental consequences of abuse on children. (Santrock, 2011 p 258) Some of the consequences of abuse and maltreatment in childhood and adolescence are poor emotional...
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