What can we learn from Forrest Gump?

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Jeanette S. 
Marketing Associate, The Epoch Times

Recently, a friend told me that she’s never seen Forrest Gump before—which is a crime in my house. So I made her watch the movie with me (spoilers ahead). 

In light of recent events, this movie has taken on a new meaning for me. 

Though Forrest and Jenny started “like peas and carrots,” each of them soon got swept up by a different one of America’s 20th-century cultural currents. 

Forrest’s path was classically American: going to college, playing football, serving his country, starting his own business, and going to church. 

Jenny, on the other hand, dabbles in counterculture: dropping out of college, becoming a beatnik and then a hippie, joining the anti-war protests, indulging in the sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll of the ‘70s. 

In these two characters, I saw a reflection of today’s America—with one side supporting the American tradition and the other opposing it. 

Jenny’s path finds her used and abused multiple times, first as a sex worker and then as a girlfriend. While she experiences momentary freedom as a hippie, she eventually devolves into a groupie who steals from the musicians she sleeps with and hits her lowest point when she attempts suicide.

But Forrest never stops loving Jenny, no matter how much their paths deviated from each other. He gets rejected by her multiple times but remains there for her through everything—never imposing, never selfish, never angry, always altruistic. 

It’s precisely because of Forrest’s love that Jenny is able to find happiness in the end, and it’s a kind of love that I think we can use more of in our society today. 

2020 has shown me the destructive power of the forces that are working against our traditional values. Coming from a communist country, I know that these forces don’t just destroy their enemies: they also destroy the same people who advocate for them. 

Many people around me don’t truly understand these forces, however, and they’re people I care for deeply. Like Jenny, they were attracted to the prospect of freedom that these forces offered, and like Jenny, they’re unable to see the destruction that these forces could cause to a person. 

It’s not easy, but I think that the best thing I can do for them is to be their Forrest. Even though they may seem to be confident in their decisions now, I have to be there for them with compassion and patience. I have to love them simply and selflessly; I have to stay firm in my own convictions and not give up. 

For history tells me that one day, they might regret their decisions. When that day comes, they’re going to need someone there to help bring them back. 

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Categories: Free Speech Zone, Uncategorized

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