Essay on Forest Gump

This essay has a total of 2469 words and 9 pages.

Forest Gump

"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 to understand the idea of
the lost innocence in the world and that when one can get it he can do great things such
Continues for 5 more pages >>