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Forest Gump

Essay by   •  January 5, 2011  •  Essay  •  2,552 Words (11 Pages)  •  2,245 Views

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"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." Forrest Gump is the portrayal of a man that has been alienated from society, not because he is unintelligent or dimwitted, but rather because he is not restricted by the conventional ideals which are embedded within his culture; thus, challenging the conformities and principals that most people are accustomed to. The contrast that Robert Zemeckis, director of the film, is attempting to convey through the character of Forrest Gump is how most people are too smart for there own good; and thus, try to escape the realities and actualities of life. While other characters in the story are suppressed by society's conflicts, Forrest remains blinded to all; hence, he is able to live in the moment, rather then evading what is real. Forrest's unique selflessness and compelled nature to do what is right, as opposed to what is easy, are what our society incorrectly labels stupidity or futility. Zemeckis is obviously pointing out that an individual has no control over his or her own destiny and in order to live a noble life, must accept life as it is.

I think it is very appropriate that Zemeckis begins his movie with the scene in which he does. Approaching Forrest's worn out and dirty shoes with a fluid camera shot of a feather floating on the breeze foregrounds the entire movie. It is an obvious symbol for Forrrest and the way he just casually makes his way through the worst of times without being harmed. The feather is many years old and has been through so much, yet it still remains clean and pure; exactly like Gump. Moreover, the coloring of the feather is very significant. It is white with black marks, giving off a inkling that there might be a union of bad experiences with innocence. Zemeckis challenges the viewer to examine why Gump is able to remain so pure, and at the same time surpassing the restrictions of society and its controversies. Gump is able, throughout his entire life to remain as we all are as children. To Gump, it doesn't make sense to break a promise, or give only ninety percent. Such an irony is carried throughout the entire film. Gump, thought by most to be incapable of succeeding, does great things, and moreover; he helps those who would, in our society, be thought more likely to be helping him. The viewers, through Gump's misunderstandings of life, are able to get a glimpse at an entirely different way of viewing life. The movie reintroduces two ideas that have been lost among society, optimism and altruism. The film undeniably points out that those who are in need of help are the people who try to hard to control their own destiny.

This film is the story of a man's journey through life and his innocent reflections on what living is all about. However entangled he became with the aspects of his life; he is able to survive through his simplicity. This innocence, which comes from a limited understanding of the world around him, gives Gump a uniquely positive perspective of life. Despite the overwhelming conflicts that existed during the time period in which Forrest lived, he continues to seek the best of all worlds in the worst of all possible times. Some might argue that this movie was merely a mocking of the past with no true sentiments. However incorrectly this movie did portray the past, it did not do so without some bigger purpose. The film is evidently connected to society's tremendous national yearning for innocence. Moreover, the movie criticizes society for their inability to deal with complicated issues individually, especially when it sheds an unflattering truth. This is strongly conveyed in one specific scene in which Forrest is standing on a podium in Washington D.C., just coming back from the Vietnam War, and addresses the thousands of people in the audience. Interestingly, he gives an entire speech and no one hears any of it, yet they all applaud. While the entire audience is celebrating for no reason, it is Forest, the so called moron, who is actually making a good point; yet no one can hear him. It is evident that Zemeckis is making a point that people are ignoring the truth and not listening to what is going on. Society is more pleased living under the suppressions and misrepresentations of our culture, as opposed to coping with the truth and what comes along with it.

Forest Gump is a person that many would label a contemporary holy fool which means that he possesses an extreme innocence that enables him to do great things. His mental incapabilities have their obvious disadvantages, but what is more worthy of discussion are the, not so obvious, advantages. His idealistic and optimistic view of the world and his innocence blind him to the evil in people, and consequently; he is able to find the best in each person he encounters. Robert Zemeckis directed the film in such a way to emphasize the notion that simple is better which ties with his main theme of destiny. Zemeckis also implies, through large contradictions in Gump's personality, that Gump's character is an impossibility in real life.

Gump is able to surmount all of society's restrictions. Even when he was a little boy people were trying to straighten him out with leg braces, but sure enough, he broke out of those. This pivotal moment in the movie marks the beginning of an absolutely great and optimistic lifestyle. However, Gump is not completely void of restrictions. He respects authority because of his mother, whom he adored and loved very much. A little later in his life, Gump joined the army and does very well. He does well, not because he is stronger or brighter, but because he listens and does what he is told, which most people today struggle with. One example is when Gump's drill sergeant asked Gump why he put the gun together so fast and he replies that it was because he was told to. No regular person would give such a simple answer but his innocence to the corruption that everyone else lives by enables him to do so. This is just one of those contradictions that Zemeckis used to emphasize the greatness, yet unattainable, traits that Gump possesses. I believe that Zemeckisis is trying to point out that in an ideal society it would be possible to possess characteristics, such as Gump's ability to surmount restriction and also listen to authority, together

The main motif of the movie can be viewed in the extreme irony that Zemeckis adds to the film. The idea is that Gump, although physically and mentally challenged, is able to help the so called normal people of the world. Gump saves the lives of many soldiers in the Vietnam War and he both physically and spiritually helps Jenny and Lieutenant Dan. The question that must be posed is why the director is letting Gump have the capability of saving these people. The answer is that he wants the audience

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