“You have given me added years of life, as rich and full as those of many generations, all packed into one.”
This week’s entry is inspired by the movie, Forest Gump. To me this was a sleeper movie that many folks didn’t see amounting to much; however, it is chalked full of many fantastic life lessons. This week’s assignment was to locate examples of symbolism in this feature. The trouble was not in finding any, but picking only a few to on which to focus. There were many examples to choose from in Forest Gump.
Forest Gump ‘s most famous line is of course, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” His mother shared these words from her death bed. She often had many sayings that became classic “Gumpisms.” Since Mrs. Gump looked at her destiny as an unknown mystery, it was fitting to use the box of chocolate as an example. Life is full of sweet moments but they can be sticky as well. There are hard times that can almost break your teeth. The flavors of life can range from light colored smoothness to dark bitter sweet richness. We don’t always know what is coming but it is how we take on life that matters. What Momma Gump wanted to pass on to her son was that life is nothing to fear but to experience with all your heart.
Throughout the movie, we had the element of flight and freedom. In the beginning of the movie, there is a feather that we can’t keep our eyes off of. In many ways, it was a hook that drew us into the life of Forest Gump. I think it represents life and destiny. Life is never an easy clear-cut predictable thing. So, each of the characters in out film had a different take on destiny.
Forest’s mom often wore little feather earrings. That was her statement that life is a random free-flowing experience.
Jenny’s destiny was chaotic. She had an abusive father that shattered the windows of her childhood. Jenny prayed that God would turn her into a bird so she could fly far, far away.
Lt. Dan’s flight came through the aircraft in the military. His destiny was to follow the path laid out before him or die in the battle like the others in his family who went before him.
Forest and Jenny had a favorite tree where NO birds ever seem to roost. They seemed to be little birds that had to find where they belonged in life. Forest was like that tree in the whole business of flight.He remained a safe haven for those who flew around in life.
In the opening and closing of Forest Gump you watch the feather is a little mix of ideas. Yes, there is a certain amount of randomness and unknown to existence but there is also a master plan designed for life. Somehow on the wind there is the ability for both them to exist in harmony.
Forest often commented that “stupid is as stupid does.” He hated being called stupid. That was his nemesis all his life, the label that he felt forced to wear. However, when he went into the army some light switch turned on inside of him. His discovered that hands were his brains. He put his drill sergeant into shock when he put his rifle together in seconds. Forest was a genius tactically. He learned through touching. One day he was handed a Ping-Pong paddle. In seconds, he found out that he was very good at the game. Forest practiced day and night just for the love of the game. His hands took him around the world. It was amazing that this simple boy from Alabama took on the champion Ping-Pong master in China. When Forest left the army the one thing he took with him was his worn out paddle. He knew that little piece of wood and rubber represented an opportunity to show others that he did have a brain in his head.
I thought that Forest Gump’s journey represents the everyday heroics of the everyday man. No one’s life is unimportant. We all have a part to play in the lives of others. Simple acts of kindness, unconditional love, and friendship can truly change the course of history. I think Forest Gump reminds me to never underestimate the little things often overlooked in life. Heroes do exist, and they still are needed in the world today. I want to be way, too. That’s all I have to say about that.