“Life was like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get.”
——— Forrest Gump Forest Gump is born in Southern America after world war 2. He is a decent man who
only have IQ of 75. Gump’s mother is a strong woman. During Gump’s life, she always believes in him and stands by his side. When Gump is young, she encourages him to attend school as normal kids, but he is often bullied by his same age kids because they think he is stupid, his mother comfort him and tells Gump that “Stupid is as stupid does”, which is true, because he is more than lucky. He meets Jenny, his loves of love in school, who is the first person tells him to run when he is in trouble, and Gump loves running gradually. Once he runs into a school’s football court to avoid other kids, he runs so fast that the coach is shocked by that speed, and that’s how he runs into university with scholarship. He becomes a football star and is also interviewed by President Kennedy. After the graduation, he is enlisted in Vietnam. He makes two friends there—one is Bubba who dreams of going into the shrimping business after the war, another one is his lieutenant, Dan Taylor. Gump survives in the war, but unfortunately his friend Bubba dies and the lieutenant has lost two legs. After the war, Gump’s life becomes more adventure, he is awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, becomes a ping-pong champion in China, and accidentally reveals the Watergate Scandal that makes Nixon resign. Finally, Gump has becomes an entrepreneur through shrimps. To memory Bubba’s death, he has founded a Company and gives half of the company to Bubba’s mother. One night, Jenny comes back to see Gump, but leaves quietly in the morning. Gump feels said when he wakes up, and suddenly, he begins to run. He runs across the United States and becomes famous again. Finally, one the way of he goes to his hometown, he receives a letter from Jenny. Jenny tells Gump she is sick and introduces him to his son, they spend a happy time together. Jeanne passes away, and their son has reached school age. Gump sent his son to the school bus and sat on a bench at the bus stop, telling his life story.
The reason why I chose this movie is that I’ve watched this movie when I was in high school, and it is one of my favourite movies. I couldn’t understand deeply when I first saw it, but now after I learn this course, I realized that there are many details related to international
relations such as idealism, realism, racism, and some feminism. This is an excellent movie, which make me think a lot every time after I watch it.
Firstly, In my perspective, if Gump is the representative of idealism and American dream, Jenny represents realism and portrait of a generation of Americans in the Vietnam War, which is more real and cruel. Gump is not smart, and he lost many things in his life too, but that does not influences him at all. He shows a lot of valuable quantities such as faithful, persistence and kindness, and holds a positive attitude towards life. In the time of the world’s unpredictable changes, he still remains himself. Her “special friend”, Jenny has her dream. She longs to be a country singer and play on her own stage, and that is why she leaves Gump several times. She is pursuing her dream, but fate does not let her get it. After Jenny gets expelled from her school, she went to singing. She holds the guitar in front of her and sings deeply, and she thinks she has taken the first step toward success. However, the audience are not moved by her singing, they are moved by her body. Jenny feels humiliated, so she leaves the stage and leaves Gump. Finally, Jenny bows to reality. She stops chasing her dreams, instead, she is infected with almost all the bad habits, such as drug addiction, sexual liberation and so on, and eventually she died of a virus – which is the allusion is to HIV. However, Gump loves her as usual, and it also shows Gump’s innocence and kindness.
Gump is like a solider, he wins again and again because of his simple and talent. Running is the word that appears all the time in the movie. People say that run is a symbol of hope, which I think is true, so that this movie can attract so many audiences, which shows the charm of hope. Forrest Gump image to subvert the normal world of the heroic image, and the traditional concept of a strong anti-traditional, anti-mainstream. His experiences makes many “smart” people ashamed. Interestingly, Gump always have a group of followers. They can’t find the direction of life so they blindly follow Gump. It is the reality of American society at that time. People are disappointed and they cannot find the motivation and meaning of being alive. However, Gump can always face the world with optimism and always run bravely, which is a wonderful ironic. We can say that Forest Gamp is a humorous movie, sometimes it makes us laugh a lot, we can also say that Forest Gamp is a series movie, this seriousness runs through the whole film. In the twenty or thirty years after World War II, even a soap opera will contain a bit of politics, so does
Forrest Gump. Though the way of expression is not straight forward, it it is enough for us to see the political environment at that time. Several politic events are performed one by one, and then played like powerpoint, short but important—Vietnam war, Watergate scandal, President resign, Civil Rights, Anti-Vietnam War protest movements, Computer Revolution…… After the war, the spiritual life of Americans are extremely chaotic. People are panicked, someone people who frown to see these rise up against the government. Alcoholism, promiscuity and drugs addiction have became a phenomenon.
Secondly, this movie criticized racism. At the beginning of the film, Gump is waiting for the bus at the bus stop with a black woman. They chat happily together on a bench. The scene is intolerable to racists: it is not possible for whites and blacks to be in the same classroom or restaurant, let alone sit on a same bench. After Gump joining the army, his first and closest friend is Bubba, who is also black. Gump risks his life to save Bubba after he is in danger. Although Bubba dies soon, Gump remembered what he wants for most in his life – buying a shrimp boat, and Gump fulfills his wish. As a white man, Gump regarded black people as his best friend, and his willingness to devote everything to Bubba was undoubtedly a great blow to racism. Not only Gump himself, but also his family does the same thing. At his mother’s family party, the participants were made up of people of all kinds of colour: black, yellow, white, brown and so on, and they get along with each other very well. Furthermore, after Bubba’s mother is rich because of Gump, she hires a white maid. Lieutenant Dan also reflects criticism of racism. After he becomes a millionaire, he marries a Asian who has yellow skin. Dan’s marriage further shows that different races can not only get along well, but also can get married.
Thirdly, feminism is also can be seen a bit during the movie. There are two women influences Gump a lot — his mother – Mrs. Gump and his love of life – Jenny. Mrs. Gump is a brave, independent and responsible woman who raises Gump all by herself. Mrs. Gump insists let her son attend school as normal kid, the story when she meet school principal the attitude of principal shows there is a far greater differentiation of men’s roles than of women’s roles, she accepts it peacefully with her great mother nature. In the patriarchal society, men can do whatever they want, but women has to accept the injustice of society and the difficulty of life. “Death is only a part of life,” this is her last gift to Forrest Gump, teach him to face death calmly
and bravely. Gump always starts with words like “mom always said…”, such as “You have to do the best with what God gave you” “My Mama always told me that miracles happen every day. Some people don’t think so, but they do” “My mama always said, dying was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t”, shows again that this great woman has influences Gump significantly. Jenny loses her mother at an early age, and her father does not treat her well. He drank too much, and even has some obscene to her. Jenny always prays that she would fly freely like a bird. The so- called Jenny is begin to generate is nothing but publishes her sexy photos in school uniforms in the men’s magazine playboy, and she is also expelled by school because of this. Ironically her dream is achieved by singing songs in a bar naked, and many men audiences does not care about the song at all, what they only cares is her body. This is undoubtedly are criticizing the whole patriarchal society — Women wears a bit sexy clothes is corruption, but men they can do whatever they want, they even can prostitution. She participated some parades. Her boyfriend beats her, but she still willing to be with him. Later, he starts to beat Jenny again and harder. Maybe a woman’s sense of self protection made her afraid, Jenny went back to Gump’s home.
Forrest Gump is based on the middle century of United States, which is also an era of intense change. As a result of the campaign against racial discrimination, the movement for the protection of civil rights and the liberation movement for the liberation of women, there are many other wars that impact America significantly. There are many abnormal phenomena in society, such as the assassination, the White House scandals, and many Hippie cultures are also very prosperous at that time, so there’s big impact between traditional and modern concepts. Gump and his three good friends, Bubba, Jenny, and Captain Dan all have different destiny structures, which form three clues to the whole plot. That is, the opposition to racial discrimination, the liberation of women and the war in Vietnam. Jenny is a typical representative of American cultural of 60s. She sings folk songs, dresses hippie costumes, enjoys anti war demonstrations, drugs and free sex. However, she seems to be part of the culture, but that is not because of her own political principles, but because of the psychological trauma left by her childhood memory. The film also shows some of her ideological contradiction — she participates in anti-war demonstrations, but also tolerate the violence of her boyfriend.
This movie also shows some American spirits and the call for the return of American traditional culture. Honesty, kindness, loyalty, love and friendship — Love is one of the mainstream values of American society. In this film, we can experience different kinds of love through different characters, the love between Gump and his mother’s family, the love between Gump and Babu, and the love between Gump and Jenny. , Gump is abandoned by his father since he was not a healthy child. Gump’s mother is positive and optimistic about the unfairness and hardship of his life. He still believed that Gump, like normal people, sent him to the normal school. Gump inherited his mother’s good quantity very well, gradually formed a good, honest, and positive character; Gump’s two close friends in the Vietnam War, Bubba and Lieutenant Dan, shows the love of friends. Bubba was a black soldier, but Gump had no racism and became a good friend with Babu and fought to save him at the critical moment. Gump is longing for love, he really falls in love with the Jenny. No matter what happens, but his love for Jenny is never going to change. This reflects the right of everyone to love and be loved. Gump is seen as a fool, but he has the same character as ordinary people and even exceed ordinary people’s personal character. When he joins the army, he has a good performance in the army, and received recognition and appreciation from both his chief and colleagues, which embodies the characteristics of the American spirit of faith. Once a person is not integrate anymore, there will be a personal integrity crisis, such as President Nixon’s famous Watergate Scandal, to remind the American people. After Gump becomes a billionaire, he still remains his hardworking and frugality. He comes back home to be a gardener and donates most of his money to the charity. These quantities shows American spirits, and let people experience the charm of American spirit through Gump’s eyes.
If seeing the movie carful, there is a feather appears in both start and end of the movie. The feathers are wandering around, and it may just a summary of Gump’s life. During Gump’s life, what he describes is just an ordinary man’s experience, and the wishes of ordinary people. From a kid who go to school by school bus growing into stars, from students in college to a soldier of the Vietnam War, from owns nothing to a sudden wealth. His life reflects not only the tortuous history of United States, but also used the typical image to shape the American reality in that period of time. Bubba, Jenny and Lieutenant Dan, have all been injured, and Gump walks
through their life. but it was only once in existence, like the feather in both start and end of the movie, it is such a insignificant existence, but has witnessed the occurrence all of history, and then leaves quietly without changing anything.
In conclusion, idealism, realism, racism and feminism can be seen perfectly in the movie. In the movie, Forrest Gump is considered a fool, but he has a sense of quantity that ordinary people do not have. His “fool” retained his innocence and kindness, and displayed the American dream and the American spirit unconsciously. Because of his brain and leg issues, Gump experienced much more difficulties that the ordinary people could not bear. For example, Gump could not have chance been in normal school, but his mother helps him get the same educational opportunities rights for him. After that, he is supported by the belief that everyone is equal, he got rid of many physical obstacles and finally succeeded in breaking through himself. In fact, this story tells us that the common people of the United States have such values that everyone is equal and everyone has the same value, and that success can only be achieved through one’s hardworking. This film tells people that no matter what kind of people you are, you can be successful like Gump as long as you have you dreams and world for it.