Recension av boken Forrest Gump av Winston Groom

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The story is actually about two things. It tells the story of Forrest’s life at the same time as the audience gets to witness glimpses of the American history. In these historic events Forrest often plays an active part, for example when he inspires Elvis or when he fights in the Vietnam War.

Forrest grows up in a small town together with his mum who would do anything for her boy. Early in the story we learn that Forrest isn’t a “normal” kid, he wears braces on his legs and he has an IQ below average. But he makes it without going under thanks to his mother and his best friend Jenny. Forrest’s mother is very important and also very loving towards her son. Whenever something is wrong or when Forrest doesn’t understand she has a way of explaining it to him metaphorically. Later in his life he often quotes what his mother once said.

Even though Forrest has a somewhat traumatic childhood with kids bullying him the sort of intelligence that he lacks makes his life happy anyway. He has a remarkable way of always looking ahead and always having some sort of new idea of what do to. Therefore he leads a very exciting life as a football player, a War hero, a Ping-Pong master, a shrimp fisher etc. Eventually he ends up as a millionaire.

What Forrest accomplishes is something that must be very rare in the US today. He isn’t very smart (low IQ, but his EQ must be above average…) and he achieves what he does by simply being kind to people. He never does anything with profit as the goal. Somehow he slips through the system and survives that tough society. Maybe this is because he really hasn’t been programmed to believe that he is no good. He dares to try the project that he wants to, and with a small portion of luck he ends up as the real winner. The feather that begins and ends the story could maybe be seen as a symbol of this freedom of mind. Is symbolises how Forrest is free to do what he wants because he hasn’t been prejudiced.

There are four, or maybe five, very important people in Forrest’s life. The first is his mother whom he loves and thinks the world of. The second person is Jenny, the girl who saved him whenever he was in trouble during their childhood. Jenny is even more important to Forrest after his mother has died. Forrest feels that he must protect Jenny as she protected him, but when he tries to hard she tells him goodbye more than once. The third important person is Bubba. Bubba is a black young man who joins the army at the same time as Forrest. They swear to help each other no matter what during the Vietnam War. And Forrest is the most faithful friend one could get; He runs into the woods after the battalion has been ambushed to find Bubba and bring him out. But, every time he goes in he finds someone else in need of help and therefore rescues that person. Finally, after he has saved several people, Forrest finds Bubba in a bad condition. He picks him up, and is able to escape the minute before the Americans bomb the forest with napalm. On that place Forrest has to say goodbye to Bubba who is too severely hurt to survive.

Among the persons Forrest saves is his Lieutenant, Dan. Dan survives, but is far from thankful. He loses both his legs and is no longer regarded as a hero. Forrest doesn’t understand this; he doesn’t even understand what all the rallies against the war are about. Maybe Forrest is the only ex. soldier who doesn’t feel like a looser. Dan understands perfectly well that he isn’t wanted in the American society. He isn’t loved by the people who hates him along with the war, and he isn’t wanted by the government because he is an embarrassment to them; a living proof that the Vietnam War was a big mistake. Therefore he is left on his own, and starts to drown his sorrows. But, once again Forrest saves his life by making him part of a Shrimp boat that Forrest buys to honour Bubba’s memory and to make Bubbas dream come true. Dan learns to cherish life again and the business grows until they both are millionaires.

Dan isn’t the only friend Forrest saves. The love of his life, Jenny, is another. She was abused by her father as a young girl and therefore leads a very destructive life as a grown up. She seeks men who treat her as bad as her father did and she takes drugs and drinks to numb the pain. The only one who truly loves her is Forrest. His love saves her when she considers ending her life, and his kindness helps her get over her father so that she can find peace in mind. Jenny gives birth to their little son, “the smartest kid in the world”. After Jenny has died Forrest takes care of his boy, and loves him just as much as Forrest’s mother loved him.

The tale of Forrest’s life is a most wonderful story. And to many it is a rougher picture of the US than we are used to being bombarded with. Forrest tells the story without passing any judgements. In one way this is good, but on the other hand the picture of the US isn’t true anyway. As we see it in the film...

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Inactive member [2001-05-17]   Recension av boken Forrest Gump av Winston Groom
Mimers Brunn [Online]. https://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=647 [2020-11-26]

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