Monday, May 16, 2011
Forrest Gump exemplifies Postmodernism extremely well. It is told by a first-person narrator as he remembers and recounts the multiple adventures of his life. He starts his tale while sitting at a bus stop many years after its end. In the beginning, little Forrest was a crippled child. His legs were underdeveloped, and walking was hard enough for him that he needed metal braces on them. Then, one day, as he was being bullied by a group of kids from school, his best and only friend Jennie yelled, "Run, Forrest, run!" and that really put the fire on his butt. So, he began running; he ran and ran as fast as he could, and despite the braces, he ran very fast, just as fast as the bullies chasing him in a truck. He ran so fast, in fact, that those metal braces broke right off his legs, and he was able to make a clean getaway. Then, as his life continues, his mental disability brings him into the army. Quickly, they send poor, unknowing Forrest into the deep of war in Vietnam, where he meets a new friend, Bubba, an equal in mental ability but separate in color, who is a shrimp fisherman back at home, and Bubba invites Forrest to come fishing with him some time. Fighting erupts quickly, and Forrest finds himself in the position of rescuer for multiple wounded soldiers, including his commanding officer, Lieutenant Dan. Later on, Forrest receives commendations for his heroic efforts of the day, and he gets to meet President Nixon at the White House. While there, Forrest unintentionally exposes the Watergate scandal, forcing Nixon's resignation. More time passes, and he finds himself at an anti-war rally in Washington D.C. He is mistaken for a supporter of the anti-war effort and is forced to give an awkwardly unprepared speech into a microphone that is not plugged in. But, while on stage, his lost love Jennie runs into the reflecting pool, and Forrest runs out to meet her where they kiss passionately while the crowd cheers excitedly. Finally, Forrest goes on a run - a very, very long run. He runs for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, nonstop. Along the way, he gains companions to run with him, and when a truck splashes mud in his face, he creates the iconic smiley-face t-shirt. And for the entire movie, Forrest is recounting everything as it happened in his life. The movie crosses a fictional plot line with real world events, such as the war in Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, and the smiley-face t-shirt. It is also conventional in his use of common storytelling.