Forrest Gump

The movie was about the life and times of Forrest Gump a fictitious character who suffers from a disability known as mental retardation. The movie starts at the very beginning as a child growing up in Alabama and one who was brought up by a single parent. His mother took care of him and never gave up on him. Although the world sees him and treated him as a person with disability his mother refuses to back down and wanted nothing more but to see his son grow up, receive education and enjoy life as a normal person would.

She opposed everyone who said that her son will amount to nothing. It was her love that instilled in Forrest Gump the faith that everything is possible. Although he was mentally retarded Forrest Gump had another quality in him and it is the innocence and the graciousness of a gentleman. He only wanted to make other around him comfortable and because of that his disability never became a stumbling stone for him and instead it became a stepping stone to success.

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Mental Retardation

According to the World Health Organization mental retardation is under a group of health problem called developmental disabilities (WHO, 2010). It is generally understood as the failure of the brain to mature and grow correctly and as a result affects the whole person. In addition the WHO also pointed out that in mental retardation there is deficiency in all aspects of development such as: “…noticeable deficiency in the development of motor, cognitive, social, and language functions” (WHO, 2010). This definition applies to Forrest Gump.

Forrest Gump was slow to pick up with regards to conversation and absorbing information that would usually be of no concern to a normal child. As a result a young Forrest Gump is seen as slow in speech. He could not seem to answer correctly questions directed at him; however, the movie made it appear funny as if all the good breaks happen to him and so what was supposed to be a disaster turned out to be for good.

Aside from his deficiency when it comes to cognitive skills, as a boy Forrest Gump also had to endure a physical problem and it has something to do with his legs. It did not develop normally and so he had to use braces to support his lower limbs and for him to walk from his house to his school. It gave him a great deal of discomfort and it also pained his mother. This is a typical example in the life of a mentally retarded person.

Body Image and Self-Perception

The consequence of mental retardation made Forrest Gump realize that he was different. His classmates treated him different and he knew deep down that there is something wrong with him or at least there is something odd about him. He became a target for bullies and the whole community made fun of him.

This was demonstrated in one continuous scene when bullies riding in a vehicle tried to hit him with stones and so Forrest Gump ran as fast as he could until his braces broke off and he ran straight into a football game and one spectator asked another who is this guy running like a wild man across a football field, to which his friend replied that Gump is the village idiot.

Gump made the conclusion that no one really likes him or loves him because in one scene he opened up to an elderly couple and he said that he only had one friend in the world and her name is Jenny. This is probably the reason why he was intensely loyal to those who gave him the time of the day. For instance he was devoted to Bubba and Lt. Dan even if the former veteran was mean to him. Unfortunately Jenny will not reciprocate his love and it created a deep wound in him.

Employment and Career

He experienced a great deal of trouble in his hometown, especially in his school and so one would probably expect him to face the same type of hurdles or even greater when he decided that it was time for him as an adult to find work. Surprisingly he did not have a hard time in the U.S. Army.

It was a place where his mental retardation became an asset rather than a liability. His disability allowed him to throw all inhibitions to the wind and he was not struggling when it comes to following orders and doing things that other normal enlisted men would complain about. He simply did what the drill sergeant told him to do.

It was like a drug for him that altered his perception. He viewed the world different. For example, the Vietnam War was not frightening for him. When it was time to rescue someone behind enemy lines he went there without thinking about his safety. And so he succeeded in his chosen profession.

If a case study is going to be made to understand the impact of mental retardation to employment and career this movie should not be a good starting point. It does not require a rocket scientist to understand that people with mental disabilities will have a hard time securing a job and be promoted. In this case however Forrest Gump received the highest honor that could ever be awarded to an enlisted army man.

Social Barriers

One of the most difficult stage in his life as a mentally retarded person is the challenge of making Jenny fall in love with him. He wanted to be married to Jenny but the woman she fondly calls his “girl” is not ready to make the same commitment. But there were only a few things that can be considered as social barriers especially when he reached adulthood. The twist in the movie is how his disability became a blessing in disguise for him.

Aside from receiving the Medal of Honor from the president, Gump also became a household name when he did a fun run that became a national event. He became a ping-pong champion and product endorser. Aside from that he was able to capitalize on the idea that his friend Bubba gave him and with that he was able to establish a shrimp business. In short he was financially secure something that is almost impossible to achieve for someone with a below average IQ.

Opinion

Needless to say the movie was not believable but it must be pointed out that the movie did not create a stereotyped character in fact it tried to show the opposite – a disabled man who became world famous and earned a lot of money.

The purpose of the movie was not to show what disabled people specifically what the mentally retarded people had to go through in life but to demonstrate the irony of life. The irony is this, those who are normal does not know how to live life but Forrest Gump who was mentally retarded succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

Aside from that the movie showcased an admirable feature of the U.S. Army and it is to give opportunities to those who have disabilities. According to the official website of the U.S. Army, “…individuals with disabilities must be given the same opportunities as individuals without disabilities” (Graves, 2010). Their spokesperson also cited laws that were legislated to encourage this practice and one example is the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Graves, 2010).

Conclusion

The main character in the movie had a disability he was mentally retarded. However, the movie did not focus on what normally happens in the life of a mentally retarded person. In the early phase of the movie one can see the typical scenes such as bullying, he experienced rejection from the people of the community and from his peers.

But immediately the movie left the stereotyped mentally retarded character behind and invoked in a make-believe fantasy world wherein the mentally retarded was able to amass wealth, fame and fortune. The saying that says it can only happen in the movies is very much exemplified in Forrest Gump. However, it can be used as an inspirational film for those who suffer from mental retardation.

References

World Health Organization. (2010). “Mental Retardation from Knowledge to Action.” Retrieved 12 October 2010 from http://www.searo.who.int/en/Section1174/Section1199/Section1567/Section1825_8084.htm

Graves, J. (2010). “Hire Individuals with Disabilities.” Retrieved 12 October 2010 from
http://www.army.mil/-news/2010/06/02/40199-hire-individuals-with-disabilities–access-the-possibilities-part-two/

Forrest Gump

Introduction

Forrest Gump is a motivating movie about the struggles that we go through in life and it gives hope that there is always a way out of every quagmire. Directed by Robert Zemeckis with Tom Hanks playing the role of Forrest; this is a classical must-watch movie of all the times. The main theme here is that, no matter what happens in life, there is a way out and we should never give up. This is evidenced by the humble beginning of Forrest and the achievements he achieved later in life.

As the movie starts, we understand that Forrest has an awful spinal cord problem coupled with a low IQ that is below ‘normal’ levels. Nothing seems to work the way of this young man together with his mother who works tirelessly to ensure that her son gets and becomes the best. The mother approaches the principal of Greenbow County Central School expecting to explain her son’s condition and get help. Regrettably, the principal takes advantage of her and makes sexual advances.

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In the wake of these events, Forrest undergoes through social torment in the hands of fellow schoolmates and other people ranging from bullying to social isolation. The best thing Forrest gets from people is reproach and disdain. However, this does not keep him down; he keeps on moving, as fate seems to work for him more than often.

On the other side, Jenny, Forrest’s close friend, also goes through many life difficulties. We realise as the movie progresses that Jenny had an abusive father and she never has peace at home. In college, bullying continues but still, this does not stop Forest from moving on in life.

Despite all these shortcomings in Forrest’s life, he moves on to become a champion, a champion in his own world. He starts by winning a rugby trophy; joins the army; engages in war in Vietnam and meets many prominent American people like George Wallace, John Lennon, Presidents Nixon, Johnson and Kennedy.

Forrest comes out as true champion, with a big heart to help people. In the middle of these challenges and triumphs, Forrest does not forget her lover of youth, Jenny. Despite the fact that she walks out of his life on several occasions, she does not leave his mind. As the movie nears to end, Forrest marries Jenny; unfortunately, she is terminally ill and she passes on, a while after wedding.

Why This Movie

The writer chose this movie because of its peculiarity. Even though Forrest goes through somewhat strange situations, he manages to overcome and emerges as a champion. The incidences of this movie relate well with real life situations and it expounds on what people go through in reality. Forrest Gump is a true depiction of what really happens in life. People start from humble beginnings and make it in life.

This gives hope that, in every desert of calamity, there is an oasis of hope. It stresses on the importance of pushing on in life despite the situation that someone is going through. Despite the fact that Forrest is facing what appears to be insurmountable, he comes out in a way or the other. Starting from his childhood, nothing seems to work out for him. First, we do not hear anything about his father. Maybe his mother was a single or maybe the father died in a war or something of that sort.

Nevertheless, this does not bother Forrest and he chooses to move on in life. Think of a child with a very low IQ coupled with awful spinal cord problem. This is so debilitating; yet, Forrest does not stop at it. He moves on and as fate may have it, he emerges a champion, achieving what many people could never think of.

This movie is an all rounded episode; touching nearly all frontiers of life. It starts from childhood and challenging parenting, moves through school life and finds its way to adulthood where one has to work and love or be loved among other issues. Through marriage to death, Forrest Gump is a real motivator.

The writer identified with this movie as it relates to daily life happenings and any one who has been going through grinding moments and reached a point where he or she feels that life challenges are winning the battle, he or she should watch this movie. Moreover, this movie ties closely to the topics covered in class.

Relation to Topics Discussed in Class

Forrest Gump ties closely to the topics discussed in class. The topics in class expounded on family and community dealing mainly on child abuse, drug abuse, bullying in school among other issues that are pertinent in the society. The issue of child abuse and bullying in school sets in, immediately after the movie commences. Forrest goes through a lot of torment both in school and outside the school.

He is abused socially because of his low IQ and health condition. He faces social isolation, save for his mother who offers to give him the best. Bullying moves to an extent where the bullied loses contact with all people around him or her including those not involved in the bullying. This is evident as we see a rift growing between Forrest and Jenny as the bullying intensified.

On the other hand, Jenny is going through the same fate of abuse in the hands of her abusive father. It is until Forrest visits Jenny that he realizes what she goes through. On the issue of drug abuse, we see Jenny slowly drifting into drug abuse. Actually, she spends most of her time in a bar where she takes Forrest upon meeting after he gave a speech about the war in Vietnam.

Due to overindulgence in alcoholism and many years of drug addiction, Jenny suffers from a terminal disease. After some few years of struggle with her sickness under the care of Forrest, Jenny finally passes on leaving a broken heart and shattered dream that never was for Forrest. Forrest weeps on the graveyard of his wife; however, nothing much can be done; she is gone; gone for good. The point is, Jenny died from drug abuse and this tie closely to the topics studied in class.

Conclusion

Forrest Gump is a classical masterpiece that everyone should watch. This movie is a typical exemplary of what happens to most of us if not all of us. Forrest goes through much trouble and faces many obstacles in life; however, this does not seem to deter him from achieving his dream of marrying Jenny; helping the poor and doing his best in life among other issues. It takes the audience through the journey of life from childhood through adulthood to death.

Then the cycle begins again, for as the movie ends, we see Forrest junior at the bus station; the exact point where his father’s journey started. We really cannot tell if the life of Forrest junior will go through the same process as his father’s or it will be better or worse. This is a story of American history through the most distinctive decades in America’s progression in 60s, 70s and 80s. It is heart warming, vibrant and inspirational.

Finally, Tom Hanks has never been at his best than in this movie. As he tries to understand the world around him from his ‘stupid’ point of view, he brings out the true character of Forrest and the audience connects emotionally as the journey commences.

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