Forrest Gump – Hero’s Journey
The Mundane World
Forrest Gump is a mentally impaired child living with his mother in Alabama. There is little back-story, but from what is shown, we can assume that he lives a simple life, mostly living vicariously through the various visitors to the guest home that his mother runs.
The Call To Adventure
On his first day of school he meets a girl named Jenny, who will turn out to be a major influence in his life. Forrest’s first real call to adventure is when he is attacked by bullies after school one day. The bullies attack him with rocks and force him to run, despite being in leg braces.
Crossing The Threshold
When Forrest runs from the bullies, something amazing happens. His leg braces break and fall off, leaving his newly-healed legs free to run. He soon discovers that he is a naturally fast runner, a talent that is showcased many times in the film. It is the freedom that running gives Forrest that enables him to become his own man. The film showcases this by showing an adult Forrest running from bullies almost directly after the initial childhood scene. Running becomes a crutch for Forrest to lean on for his entire life.
The Path of Trials
Forrest’s path of trials begins in college. His amazing running ability gets him a scholarship to the University of Alabama, where he becomes a celebrity of sorts. After college he enlists in the army and meets Bubba, a man who convinces Forrest to go into business with him, fishing for shrimp after the war. Forrest’s platoon is sent to Vietnam, where his running skills help to save most of them from an enemy attack, although sadly not Bubba.
While Forrest recovers from the ordeal, he discovers another hidden talent, this time for ping-pong. His abilities are tested in China as part of a diplomacy mission and he gains a sponsor, earning him even more fame. He uses the sponsorship money to start a fishing company with his old platoon leader, Lieutenant Dan. When they are massively successful, he donates half of his money to Bubba’s family, as per their original agreement, and retires home to spend time with his mother.
Master of Two Worlds
Eventually, Forrest’s mother dies, leaving him the house. After some troubling emotional issues, he manages to re-connect with his old childhood sweetheart Jenny who has had his child. After meeting the child, Jenny tells Forrest she is sick and dying. The two eventually get married and move back to Alabama together, where Jenny wants to spend her final days. The story ends with Forrest taking Forrest Jr. to the bus stop for his first day of school, completing the cycle.
Submitted by: Jamie Hammond