Forrest Gump is a complex and interesting lead character and provides a unique contrast to typical early adulthood behavior. In the film, from the time he attends college, towards the end of the film where he begins his role as a father, Forrest goes through normal events that occur in the lives of many young adults. His reaction and development is different from most however, and he goes through interesting events and experiences. 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.
Through most of the film, which is the focus of this stage in life, Forrest goes from about 18 years old, to mid-thirties. This encompasses the general range known as early adulthood. Physically, Forrest is strong, athletic, and healthy. He does go through some health-related issues in childhood and suffers from such injuries as a bullet wound during the Vietnam War, but in general his health remains consistently good in comparison to the other characters who suffer from chronic and fatal diseases and one who suffers from a permanently disabling injury resulting in the amputation of his legs. His cognitive status is not as advanced as his physical abilities, however. Since very early childhood he has been classified as "slow" and this has not changed in adulthood. Despite this, he is able to attend college, and graduate, signifying that he does indeed have some cognitive abilities in the classroom. Emotionally, Forrest does experience emotions such as falling in love, grief, excitement, nervousness, and so on. These emotions come very naturally and are experienced as one might expect, for example, when Forrest's mother dies he is very sad and when other people in his life pass away he experiences the same grief that would be expected out of anyone his age. In some cases however, the emotions that he experiences is not the same as his peers. One example of this is his tolerance to insults. Throughout the film, people call him many names and he doesn't seemed bothered by it. He's repeatedly called stupid and slow, but he doesn't get offended, but rather responds with, "Stupid is, as stupid does." This is not typical of many other young adults who seek acceptance and approval from others.
Socially, Forrest participates in activities with his peers. In college he is active with his football team, and when he's in the Army he also is part a group. He is able to make friends, including Jenny, Bubba, and Lieutenant Dan, but probably not in the typical way that most people would make friends. 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.
One major issue that is discussed in the book that is often presented to young adults is the transition to parenting. When Forrest discovers that he is a parent, he goes through many changes and is affected by this new development. Some common advantages to becoming a parent is getting more responsibility, becoming more accepted as an adult, a connection to another person and the comfort that comes with that. In this case,...
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