Run Jenny Run: the Social-Cognitive Analysis of Jenny Curran in Forest Gump

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Run Jenny Run: The Social-Cognitive Analysis of Jenny Curran in Forest Gump

February 20, 2010

Capella University

CST5214 – Theories of Personality


This paper will be a two-part personality analysis of Jenny from the movie Forrest Gump (1994). Jenny is the childhood friend of the movie’s lead character Forrest. After the death of her mother when she is five, Jenny is left to the mercy of her abusive father until she goes to live with her grandmother. Jenny learns to be a survivor early in life. Jenny is a kind and helpful friend from the moment she meets her lifetime companion Forrest Gump. Throughout life, she leans on him for emotional support while allowing him to lean on her for acceptance and encouragement. As Jenny grows older, she remains rebellious in many areas of her life. Jenny faces a poor self-image, struggles with her identity, and becomes involved with sex and drugs, eventually contemplating suicide. Jenny is a self destructive, promiscuous, and an insecure woman trying to find her place in the world. She finds herself running from the memory of her abusive past into one destructive environment to the next, having the occasional run-in with Forrest along the way. Jenny loves him from a distance because of her inability to feel worthy of a genuine, healthy relationship. Due to her poor life choices, she eventually succumbs to an early death from an unnamed virus, presumably HIV, leaving behind Forrest and their son.

Jenny is a dynamic character with many flaws and, occasionally, redeeming qualities. Her psychodynamic and social cognitive behaviors reveal much about how we develop as unique beings. This analysis will involve five theoretical components of personality. By evaluating the character, Jenny, within the film Forrest Gump, and thus incorporating the above psychosocial theories, we will better understand the dynamics of behavior associated with human personality characteristics. Section 1: Character Personality Matrix

|Theory |Major Components | | |Structure |Process |Growth and Development |Psychopathology |Change | |Psychodynamic |Jenny has a weakened ego |Jenny suffers from a distorted |Jenny’s development from a child |Jenny exhibits a conflict of her |Jenny’s altered behavior toward | |Theory |caused by an internal |reality and has serious anxiety |into adulthood became manipulated|dreams and fears. She |the end of the movie may be in | | |conflict. |caused by childhood abuse from |by numerous traumatic |contradicts herself when she runs|part, acquired through life | | | |her father as well as traumatic |experiences. Beginning with the |from her abusive past into |lessons and trial and error. | | | |events she has experienced in |abuse from her father and then |relationships that are just as | | | | |her adult life. She suppresses |her continued choice in abusive |abusive. | | | | |her feelings and may be living |dominated by domestic partners. | | | | | |in a state of denial....
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