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Forrest Gump Essay

In the 1990s, Paramount Studio produced some box-office hits and one of which, Forrest Gump, is a immense victory that won the Oscar for Best Picture for 1994 and gained over $ 677 million dollars of box office throughout the universe. The movie is based upon the novel by Winston groom and directed by Robert Zemeckis ; it portrays the prima function Forrest Gump ( played by Tom Hanks ) , who is a normal American cat, with an IQ of 75 so called as imbecile, but successfully acquiring through his climbing nightshade childhood, superb football calling at montage, and weather public presentation in the ground forces every bit good as a luck in his shrimping concern. Forrest ‘s narrative genuinely inspires the full American with his important accomplishments and positive attitudes towards life ; in add-on, the movie reveals a history of America over the past decennaries in which take legion historic events, stand foring the eventual American dream in a land of chance.

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Forrest Gump is entirely masculine movie and Forrest Gump is no uncertainty the supporter, two of import females, his female parent – Mrs. Gump and his best miss friend of all time – Jenny, nevertheless do show their thoughtful images in the movie, doing a great impact on Forrest ‘s interior universe and life. Consequently, this article would wish to concentrate on the above-named adult females and research how they influence Forrest with their alone characters and values. Furthermore, a deeper degree of scrutiny linked to patriarchal myths and values in societal context will be besides proposed to show the position of the 1990s American society.

With the purpose of reasoning these points, some movie theories should be surely applied to the narrative in Forrest Gump. It has been prevailing since the seventiess that movie critics and bookmans have turned from semiologies to psychoanalytical impressions that been loosely utilised into the movie analysis. Consequently, it is important so to use these methods into this article, theoretically turn toing feminist arguments in footings of the texts in Forrest Gump. Furthermore, it can see through how the hegemony is constructed in a patriarchal society in relation to feminism by the analysis within Marxism discourse.

Representations of Women in Forrest Gump

The two females are depicted in the movie: one is Forrest ‘s female parent – Mrs. Gump ( by Sally Field ) , who makes great part to Forrest ‘s life ; the other one is Jenny Curran ( by Robin Wright ) , as Forrest says about her: “ she was my most particular friend, my lone friend ” . In general, these two females can be identified as stereotyped representations of adult females with their societal, cultural and sexual definition, highly act uponing Forrest into another representation of work forces in a patriarchal society as Hollows, Hutchings and Jancovich ( 2000, P230. ) states that “ It is a historical fact that adult females have formed an of import portion – of the audience for commercial amusement movies ” .

Mrs. Gump appears to be a individual female parent of Forrest. Harmonizing to how Forrest values his Dendranthema grandifloruom, “ she is a really smart lady ” , responsible, weather, and independent. She is good at pull offing her belongings familial from her household, leasing all the empty suites to do a life. Regardless Forrest ‘s low IQ, Mrs. Gump still insists on her boy ‘s go toing public school instead than a particular school as she says that “ my male child Forrest is traveling to acquire the same chances as everyone else ” ; She tells Forrest that “ stupid is as stupe does ” , promoting Forrest turning up to a normal and confident individual. On the other manus, she truly understands that life is full of ups and downs, giving Forrest lessons such as “ life was like a box of cocoas. You ne’er know what you ‘re gon na acquire ” . To Forrest, Momma is ever an first-class theoretical account he learns from. Even though she is deceasing, Mrs. Gump calmly says to her boy “ it ‘s merely my clip… Do n’t be afraid, decease is merely a portion of life. It ‘s something we ‘re all destined to make. I did n’t cognize it, but I was destined to be your mama. I did best I could ” . Generally, the character of Mrs. Gump is a strong and independent female presence. However, her being is more than for herself ; sing all the manner through Forrest ‘s narrative, Mrs. Gump becomes a form of independency which can be seen as replying to male desires and anxiousnesss. Claire Johnston ( 2000 ) , one of the first movie critics to acknowledge the movie text as a semiotic mark system, develops Barthesian semiotic point of position into her feminist innovations that the adult female exists as a construction in the text of classical Hollywood movies:

Iconography as a specific sort of mark or bunch of marks based on certain conventions within the Hollywood genres has been partially responsible for the stereotyping of adult females within the commercial film in general, but the fact that there is a far greater distinction of work forces ‘s functions than of adult females ‘s functions in the history of the film relates to sexist political orientation itself, and the basic resistance which places adult male inside history, and adult female as ahistoric and ageless. ( 2000: 23 )

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In this regard, Mrs. Gump is a mark being considered as a construction or a convention. Whatever Forrest recalls his female parent, for illustration, he ever starts with words like “ Momma ever said ” this or “ Momma ever said ” that, which emphasis his female parent ‘s immense influence on him. The female parent ‘s astonishing features of doggedness, independency and kindness are taken by Forrest who can get the better of any troubles through his life. It proves a system of exchange in classical movies that the representation of adult females as the ideological significance is for work forces instead than adult females. Hence, as Cook and Johnston ( 1990 ) argues:

The male supporter ‘s emasculation frights, his hunt for self-knowledge all converge on adult female: it is in her that he is eventually faced with the acknowledgment of ‘lack ‘ . Woman is hence the venue of emptiness: she is a mark which is defined negatively: something that is losing which must be located so that the egotistic purpose of the male supporter can be achieved.

Besides, Jenny presents her distinguishable facet of the representation of adult females in Forrest Gump, who is depicted as an highly baffled character. She spends most of her life happening herself, ever anticipating that “ Dear God, do me a bird so I can wing far, far off from here ” . Young Jenny is abused by her drunken dada and corsets with Forrest merely because she is scared of solitariness. After high school, they go to different colleges. In Forrest ‘s eyes, Jenny and he are merely like peas and carrots since she friendly offers a place on his first coach to school. However, the movie largely presents the dark, lonely and weak side of Jenny whom is wholly unlike strong and independent Mrs. Gump ; Jenny makes incorrect determinations of being bare theoretical account for magazine, singing at a strip nine and taking drugs when Forrest sets off his successful life ; peculiarly, a twosome of times she wants to suicide. No affair when and where, Forrest ever attempts to deliver Jenny out of problem through her journeys but ends up Jenny ‘s running off every clip. Jenny is Forrest ‘s lone love and he truly does care about her, seeking his best to protect her. Finally, they go together as what Forrest hopes when Jenny decides to settle down and marry Forrest.

Mrs. Gump and Jenny play of import functions with regard to Forrest but in wholly different ways. The semiotic probe into the myth of adult females in the movie text clarifies the adult females as a construction and how they works as a form of political orientation.

Psychoanalysis Concepts and Spectatorship Issues

Apart from theoretically analyzing the representation of adult females in Forrest Gump with the aid of semiologies discourses, psychoanalytic theory is needfully to be taken as a critical tool in order to clearly represent adult females ‘s differences from work forces in footings of deficiency and emasculation every bit good as discuss spectatorship harmonizing to Hollywood classical film. Harmonizing to Janet McCabe ( 2004 ) , “ Psychoanalytical theory shifted from a semiotic concern with the text, to see alternatively the unconscious procedures involved in how the witness is positioned in and through the movie text ” ( p.24 ) . In this case, Freud ‘s and Lacan ‘s psychoanalytic attacks significantly contribute to feminist movie analysis in footings of analyzing gender concerns within spectating patterns.

Pulling on Freudian theory sing scopophilia, voyeurism and fetichism every bit good as Lacanian mirror stage, in her article Ocular Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, Mulvey ( 1975 ) establishes her point of male regard and demonstrates that movie is structured harmonizing to male phantasies of voyeurism and fetichism.

In Forrest Gump, the act of gaze employs a complex relationship between the characters, the audience and witness. For illustration, during his childhood merely earlier silent attempts to inscribe him to the public school, Forrest sits on a swing outside the house at dark, hearing the principal ‘s oinks from inside the house. Forrest so oinks, copying when the chief stairss out, doing him experience embarrassed. It is obvious that Mrs. Gump becomes an object for both the principal and her boy to position, nevertheless, what reflect from them are varied: for the principal, she is an titillating impact and enjoyable looking ; for her boy, it seems his first clip to acknowledge his female parent does non have her phallus but he antecedently assumes that she should hold, so he thinks mother ‘s one must hold been castrated. The scene demonstrates Mulvey ‘s ( 1989 ) argument from a feminist position: “ it clearly conveys how male emasculation anxiousness comes to be projected onto the female signifier, which is so appropriated as a fetish… how adult female is represented decorated with phallic forms ” ( p 8 ) .

In add-on, Forrest ‘s looking at Jenny throughout her journey displays Mulvey ‘s ( 2000 ) position of male regard: adult female plays a ‘traditional exhibitionistic function ‘ – her organic structure is held up as a inactive titillating object for the regard of male witnesss, so that they can project their phantasies on to her. For case, Forrest ‘s sitting in the rain at dark and staring at her snoging with a male child in the auto make him in the place of inactive Peeping Tom ; his another looking over Jenny ‘s chests while she removes her bandeau in the residence hall room nowadayss Jenny herself as titillating spectacle for Forrest, so his active regard renders her image into an object of sexual phantasy ; before being sent to the War, Forrest comes to the dark nine, sitting in his place in the same manner as the witness, watching Jenny and sharing with audience in the film his dying regard when she is topless, sitting on a stool and playing a guitar on the phase. All these Forrest ‘s looking over Jenny at his different occasions apparently oscillates between voyeurism and fetishistic captivation.

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Marxist Criticism and Cultural Surveies

Along with psychoanalytical, feminist and cultural unfavorable judgment, Marxist unfavorable judgment is an exceptional attack to expose a aggregation of concealed significances in movies instead than discoursing representations of adult females or gender from a sociological position.

Harmonizing to Marxist theory, the movie represents the Repressive State Apparatus as Forrest is traveling through his life: the blackwash effort on George Wallace, and the blackwashs of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy ; the battles over civil rights and the war in Vietnam. At this point, Lieutenant Dan ( Gary Sinise ) ab initio appears as a strong portraiture in the ground forces with “ a long, great military tradition ” , but ends up losing his both legs in the war so being encouraged systematically by Forrest ‘s field political orientation, viewing audiences therefore see he finally finds the existent significance of the life with his new mental legs, which convey a positive message towards the ideological issue that all the Americans wonder like Forrest Gump: “ what ‘s my fate? ”

Regardless its nature of mute yet unseeable, political orientation by and large defines the shared beliefs and values held by a civilization, it hence enormously influences upon the civilization with its unseeable power. To some extent, political orientation signifiers the manners of people think and things expression, which is so called hegemony. In the movie, either Mrs. Gump positively disciplines Forrest that “ life is a box of cocoas ” or Jenny leaves him a negative advice that “ if you ‘re of all time in problem, do n’t seek to be courageous… Merely run off ” , Forrest merely takes them at the unconscious degree ; however, running becomes his get downing point to success and even leads a big group following behind him. Consequently, whatever the representation of adult females intending to this male supporter in the classical narrative film, or how he additions the phantasies of voyeurism and fetichism in visible radiation of depth psychology, it eventually appears to viewing audiences that Forrest ‘s narrative asserts possibility and trust even though troubles, solitariness, and decease, as he says that “ to set the yesteryear behind you and travel on ” . Consequently, behind the images on screen, Forrest Gump reflects positive values that Americans should keep ; the chief characters more or less, present these ideological province setups in footings of Marxism unfavorable judgment. The movie non merely entertains audience with titillating spectacle and pleasance, besides offers its suggestion to audience with respect to the society and civilization they are positioned.

Marxism and feminism examine movie surveies separately ; these discourses in fact have same desire to dispute the power structures in a patriarchal society. Meanwhile, both of them link to each other on the footing of psychoanalytic impressions. Analyzing the chief females of the movie with feminism theory is surely utile to research the ways in which political orientation has though been structured in the cultural context.


To sum up, Mrs. Gump and Jenny, the two females who relate to the supporter Forrest Gump, have been largely examined with the mechanism of feminist discourse in the article. By traveling through the feminism analysis with their representation and gender in the movie text and ideological deduction in footings of Marxism theory, we can reason the movie, as Comolli and Narboni ( 2000 ) province: “ on the one manus it is a peculiar merchandise, … on the other manus, as a consequence of being a material merchandise of the system, it is besides an ideological merchandise of the system ” .


Comolli, J. and Narboni, P. ( 2000 ) “ Cinema/ideology/criticism ” , in in Hollows, J. , Hutchings, P. and Jancovich, M. ( ed. ) The Film Studies Reader. London: Arnold Presser.

Cook, P and Johnston, C. ( 1990 ) “ The Place of Woman in the Cinema of Raoul Walsh ” , in Patricia Erens ( ed. ) Issues in Feminist Film Criticism, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hollows, J. , Hutchings P. and Jancovich, M. ( 2000 ) , The Film Studies Reader.

London: Arnold Publisher. P 230.

Johnston, C. ( 2000 ) . “ Women ‘s Cinema as counter-Cinema ” , in E.A. Kaplan ( ed. ) Feminism and Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press, P22-23.

McCabe, J. ( 2004 ) . Feminist Film Studies: Writing the Woman into Cinema. London: Wallflower Press. P24.

Mulvey, L. ( 1989 ) . “ Fears, Fantasies and the Male Unconscious or ‘You Make n’t Know What is Happening, Do You, Mr. Jones? ‘ ” , in Visual and Other Pleasures. Basingstoke: Macmillan. P8.

Mulvey, L. ( 2000 ) . “ Ocular Pleasure and Narrative Cinema ” , in Hollows, J. , Hutchings, P. and Jancovich, M. ( ed. ) The Film Studies Reader. London: Arnold Presser.

Dongjie Duan / Performing and Screen Arts10

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Forrest Gump Essay

In the 1990s, Paramount Studio produced some box-office hits and one of which, Forrest Gump, is a immense victory that won the Oscar for Best Picture for 1994 and gained over $ 677 million dollars of box office throughout the universe. The movie is based upon the novel by Winston groom and directed by Robert Zemeckis ; it portrays the prima function Forrest Gump ( played by Tom Hanks ) , who is a normal American cat, with an IQ of 75 so called as imbecile, but successfully acquiring thro

2018-10-23 07:39:09
Forrest Gump Essay
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