Forrest Gump Analysis

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When you open a box of assorted chocolates, there are various viewpoints regarding its contents. Some people can recognize the distasteful chocolates and avoid them. Others know that one chocolate will be unpleasant, but they still eat all of them anyway. However, a few individuals view the box as an opportunity for pleasant surprises with each bite. The film Forrest Gump depicts different understandings of destiny among its characters.

Lieutenant Dan has faith in predestined fate, whereas Jenny dedicates her entire existence attempting to gain control of her destiny, and Forrest approaches life one step at a time, trusting that destiny lies in the journey. Despite facing hardship, Forrest’s perspective on destiny allows him to lead the most fulfilling life compared to the others. At the beginning of the movie, Jenny Curran suffers from severe abuse inflicted by her alcoholic father. When she was a young girl, Jenny prays to God, asking to transform into a bird and escape her dire situation. In many ways, Jenny’s prayer is answered that day.

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Initially, she seeks solace from her problems in Greenbow, Alabama by enrolling at an all girls’ Junior College. Nevertheless, it is during this time that she encounters difficulty due to her appearance in Playboy Magazine. During a conversation one evening, Jenny questions Forrest about his dreams and shares her own ambitions of becoming a well-known folk singer. Unfortunately, her aspirations lead her down a destructive path as she ends up performing nude at a strip club. Much like a bird constantly seeking happiness, Jenny’s journey only brings forth trouble.

Jenny Curran is a confused character who constantly tries to escape her past and find her true self. She engages in drug abuse, suffers from abuse by others, potentially considers prostitution, and even contemplates suicide while trying to take control of her destiny. Lieutenant Dan Taylor also appears in the film with his strong belief in destiny. He lives transparently, openly expressing his convictions to those around him. When Forrest Gump and Bubba meet their new Lieutenant in Vietnam, Forrest senses that he comes from a long military heritage.

Dan firmly believes that his fate is predestined and that he will meet his demise in an American war. Forrest describes it as having a heavy burden to live up to. Consequently, when their squadron is under attack by the enemy known as “Charlie”, Forrest saves Lieutenant Dan’s life, causing Dan to resent him. Instead of dying with valor like his ancestors, Dan is left as a disabled amputee. Having placed all of his hopes in the belief that he would die in Vietnam, Dan succumbs to alcoholism and adopts a cynical lifestyle. A quote by Democritus perfectly captures Lieutenant Dan’s mindset.

Dan’s character is described as someone who blames nature and fate for everything. However, it is suggested that his fate is largely influenced by his own character, passion, mistakes, and weaknesses. After experiencing the Vietnam War, Dan firmly believes that he is destined to die in combat. This belief leaves him devastated and unsure of his purpose in life. Despite his tough exterior, Dan becomes a vulnerable person who relies on alcohol and openly questions the existence of God. As a result of his strong belief in a predetermined destiny, Dan faces numerous struggles throughout his life. However, towards the end of the film, he manages to find peace with Forrest, the Vietnamese community, and ultimately with God.

Forrest Gump, despite not being the most intelligent character, possesses the most uplifting and clever perspective on fate among all the individuals in the movie. Even as a child, Forrest faces challenges such as scoliosis and a below average IQ of 75. Nevertheless, with his mother’s continuous words of encouragement, “you’re no different than anybody else, Forrest” and “stupid is as stupid does,” Forrest transforms into an inspirational figure. He doesn’t fully grasp the concept of destiny and seldom contemplates the purpose behind events or the ultimate destination of his life.

When Forrest befriends Jenny, their contrasting personalities and traits— which become more pronounced over time— lead Forrest to contemplate the concept of fate. During a conversation one night, Jenny asks Forrest, “Do you ever imagine, Forrest, who you will become?” This question perplexes Forrest, and he responds, “Aren’t I going to remain myself?” Forrest never plans for the future; instead, he obediently follows instructions and confronts life’s challenges as they arise. Every event in Forrest’s life is a result of happenstance.

He is not a person who looks for better opportunities and is not optimistic about events before they happen. One day while trying to escape from bullies, he accidentally enters a school football field, disrupting the ongoing practice. However, his extraordinary speed catches the attention of the coaches, leading to his recruitment by the University of Alabama’s football team after high school. Despite having an IQ of only 75, he manages to earn a college degree. Upon graduation, an army recruiter approaches him and inquires about his future plans, giving him a flyer for the army.

Despite initially questioning the soldier’s thoughts, Forrest goes on to become a war hero, saving his difficult lieutenant and most of his platoon. Unlike the other characters in Forrest Gump, Forrest never desired a lavish life. However, by approaching life with an open mind, he managed to achieve more. It is only at the end of the movie, after a life filled with both accomplishments and hardships, that Forrest finally reaches a conclusion about destiny. Standing at Jenny’s grave, he shares his insights about fate and destiny with her.

Standing in front of his mother’s headstone under the tree where they used to play as children, Forrest reflects on the uncertainty of destiny. He contemplates whether our lives are predetermined or if we simply wander aimlessly like a breeze. However, he believes that it could be a combination of both beliefs.

This is why it’s best not to know the identity of each chocolate when someone opens a delightful assortment. inevitably, there will always be some unpleasant ones mixed with the more delicious ones. As his mother always reminded him, “life is like a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

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Forrest Gump Analysis. (2016, Dec 20). Retrieved from

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