Forrest Gump: Marxist and Feminist Analysis Essay
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Nov 28th, 2019

Forrest Gump: Marxist and Feminist Analysis Essay

In the 1990s, Paramount Studio performed some box-service hits and one of which, Forrest Gump, is a prodigious victory that won the Oscar for Best Picture for 1994 and gained aggravate $677 darling dollars of box service throughout the earth. The film is naturalized upon the upstart by Winston gdegree and directed by Robert Zemeckis; it portrays the vital role Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks), who is a usual American guy, after a opportunity an IQ of 75 so designated as imbecile, but auspiciously getting through his bittersweet childhood, flashing football progress at collage, and question exploit in the soldiers as polite-mannered-mannered as a befoulment in his shrimping duty.

Forrest’s romance actually inspires the integral American after a opportunity his forcible achievements and express attitudes towards condition; in attention, the film reveals a hiromance of America aggravate the spent decades in which admit muddy chronicled levelts, representing the unhither American romance in a place of opening.

Forrest Gump is fully virile film and Forrest Gump is no demur the protagonist, two dignified dowagerlys, his dowager – Mrs.

Gump and his best maiden ally never-dyingly – Jenny, howeternally do bestow their pensive effigys in the film, making a sublime application on Forrest’s internally earth and condition. Accordingly, this spell would relish to centralize on the forenamed women and pursuit how they vibrate Forrest after a opportunity their choice ordains and values. Furthermore, a deeper plane of scrutiny amalgamateed to olden fables and values in gregarious treatment gain be so designed to teach the standing of the 1990s American association.

With the sketch of arguing these aims, some film theories should be unquestionably applied to the truth in Forrest Gump. It has been aggravateruling gone the 1970s that film critics and scholars possess morose from semiotics to psychoanalytical notions that been broadly utilized into the film divorceition. Consequently, it is accurate assuredly to habituate these methods into this spell, theoretically addressing feminist moots in provisions of the extracts in Forrest Gump. Furthermore, it can see through how the hegemony is deceptive in a olden association in homogeneity to feminism by the divorceition after a opportunityin Marxism harangue.

Representations of Women in Forrest Gump

The two dowagerlys are depicted in the film: one is Forrest’s dowager – Mrs. Gump (by Sally Field), who reachs sublime gift to Forrest’s condition; the other one is Jenny Curran (by Robin Wright), as Forrest says encircling her: “she was my most appropriate ally, my merely ally”. In open, these two dowagerlys can be attested as stereotypical truthfulnesss of women after a opportunity their gregarious, cultural and sexual restriction, excellently influencing Forrest into another truthfulness of men in a olden association as Hollows, Hutchings and Jancovich (2000, P230.) says that “It is a chronicledal truth that women possess moulded an dignified divorce – of the hearers for marketable relief films”.

Mrs. Gump appears to be a unique dowager of Forrest. According to how Forrest values his mum, “she is a very pungent lady”, lawful, question, and fractions. She is good-natured-natured at managing her possessions ancestral from her source, renting all the emptiness degrees to reach a prop. Regardhither Forrest’s low IQ, Mrs. Gump peaceful insists on her son’s attendant national initiate rather than a appropriate initiate as she says that “my boy Forrest is going to get the selfselfidentical opportunities as never-dyinglyyone else”; She tells Forrest that “sensehither is as sensehither does”, promising Forrest growing up to a usual and impudent special. On the other govern, she veritably understands that condition is bountiful of ups and downs, giving Forrest hitherons such as “condition was relish a box of chocolates. You neternally comprehend what you’re gonna get”. To Forrest, Momma is frequently an meritorious standard he learns from. Level though she is departure, Mrs. Gump calmly says to her son “it’s equitable my spell … Don’t be cautious, failure is equitable a divorce of condition. It’s colossus we’re all destined to do. I didn’t comprehend it, but I was destined to be your momma. I did best I could”. Generally, the ordain of Mrs. Gump is a hearty and fractions dowagerly govern. However, her creature is aggravate than for herself; estimateing all the way through Forrest’s romance, Mrs. Gump becomes a badgeifier of anarchy which can be seen as obedient to virile yearns and anxieties. Claire Johnston (2000), one of the primary film critics to concede the film extract as a semiotic badge regularity, develops Barthesian semiotic aim of estimate into her feminist inventions that the dowager exists as a fabricate in the extract of pure Hollywood films:

Iconography as a local bark of badge or collocation of badges naturalized on assured cabinets after a opportunityin the Hollywood genres has been divorcely lawful for the stereotyping of women after a opportunityin the marketable cinema in open, but the truth that there is a far sublimeer incongruousiation of men’s roles than of women’s roles in the hiromance of the cinema tells to sexist ideology itself, and the basic obstacle which places man internally truth, and dowager as achronicled and never-dying. (2000: 23)

In this deference, Mrs. Gump is a badge entity pondered as a fabricate or a cabinet. Whateternally Forrest recalls his dowager, for sample, he frequently starts after a opportunity control relish “Momma frequently said” this or “Momma frequently said” that, which marrow his dowager’s prodigious vibrate on him. The dowager’s extraordinary ordainistics of exertion, anarchy and barkness are admitn by Forrest who can aggravatecome any difficulties through his condition. It proves a regularity of change in pure films that the truthfulness of women as the ideological sense is for men rather than women. Hence, as Cook and Johnston (1990) argues:

The virile protagonist’s castration fears, his pursuit for self-knowledge all tend on dowager: it is in her that he is finally faced after a opportunity the acknowledgment of ‘lack’. Dowager is for-this-reason the locus of emptiness: she is a badge which is defined denyingly: colossus that is detriment which must be located so that the narcissistic aim of the virile protagonist can be achieved.

Besides, Jenny bestows her self-evident complicatedion of the truthfulness of women in Forrest Gump, who is depicted as an excellently complicated ordain. She spends most of her condition finding herself, frequently expecting that “Dear God, reach me a bird so I can fly far, far detached from here”. Young Jenny is abused by her drunken daddy and stays after a opportunity Forrest equitable owing she is dazed of isolation. After lofty initiate, they go to incongruous colleges. In Forrest’s eyes, Jenny and he are equitable relish peas and carrots gone she allyly offers a build on his primary bus to initiate. However, the film in-great-measure bestows the ebon, sole and flabby laterality of Jenny whom is fully unrelish hearty and fractions Mrs. Gump; Jenny reachs wickedness decisions of entity uncolored standard for recipient, singing at a despoil club and insertion drugs when Forrest sets off his auspicious condition; divorceicularly, a couple of spells she wants to suicide. No substance when and where, Forrest frequently trys to recapture Jenny out of misfortune through her trips but ends up Jenny’s general detached never-dyinglyy spell. Jenny is Forrest’s merely attachment and he veritably does esteem encircling her, hard his best to secure her. Finally, they go simultaneously as what Forrest expectations when Jenny decides to determine down and amalgamate Forrest.

Mrs. Gump and Jenny dramatize dignified roles after a opportunity deference to Forrest but in entirely incongruous ways. The semiotic research into the fable of women in the film extract clarifies the women as a fabricate and how they works as a badgeifier of ideology.

Psychopartition Concepts and Spectatorship Issues

Adivorce from theoretically examining the truthfulness of women in Forrest Gump after a opportunity the acceleration of semiotics harangues, psychoanalytic hypothesis is necessarily to be admitn as a accurate utensil in ordain to palpably emassemblage women’s differences from men in provisions of delaydrawal and castration as polite-mannered-mannered as argue observership according to Hollywood pure cinema. According to Janet McCabe (2004), “Psychoanalytic hypothesis shifted from a semiotic esteem after a opportunity the extract, to ponder instead the insensible processes compromised in how the observer is lieed in and through the film extract” (p.24). In this occurrence, Freud’s and Lacan’s psychoanalytic arrivales forciblely assist to feminist film divorceition in provisions of studeparture sexuality esteems after a opportunityin spectating practices.

Drawing on Freudian hypothesis concerning scopophilia, voyeurism and fetishism as polite-mannered-mannered as Lacanian contemplate air, in her spell Visual Self-indulgence and Truth Cinema, Mulvey (1975) establishes her aim of virile gloat and teachs that film is fabricated according to virile fantasies of voyeurism and fetishism.

In Forrest Gump, the act of gloat habituates a complicated homogeneityship betwixt the ordains, the hearers and observer. For sample, during his childhood equitable anteriorly mum tries to register him to the national initiate, Forrest sits on a vibrate outlaterality the progeny at mystification, hearing the earliest’s grunts from internally the progeny. Forrest then grunts, imitating when the earliest steps out, making him arrive-at disordered. It is self-evident that Mrs. Gump becomes an survey for twain the earliest and her son to estimate, at-last, what ruminate from them are varied: for the earliest, she is an erotic application and sportive beholding; for her son, it seems his primary spell to concede his dowager does not own her penis but he previously assumes that she should possess, so he judges dowager’s one must possess been castrated. The exhibition teachs Mulvey’s (1989) moot from a feminist perspective: “it palpably transmits how virile castration diffidence comes to be contemplated onto the dowagerly mould, which is then collected as a fetish… how dowager is represented decorated after a opportunity phallic shapes” (p 8).

In attention, Forrest’s beholding at Jenny throughout her trip displays Mulvey’s (2000) estimate of virile gloat: dowager dramatizes a ‘traditional exhibitionistic role’ – her assemblage is held up as a patient erotic survey for the gloat of virile observers, so that they can design their fantasies on to her. For occurrence, Forrest’s sitting in the rain at mystification and staring at her kissing after a opportunity a boy in the car reach him in the lie of patient voyeur; his another beholding aggravate Jenny’s breasts opportunity she removes her bra in the dorm degree bestows Jenny herself as erotic flourish for Forrest, then his free gloat renders her effigy into an survey of sexual fantasy; anteriorly entity sent to the War, Forrest comes to the mystification club, sitting in his build in the selfselfidentical way as the observer, watching Jenny and sharing after a opportunity hearers in the cinema his disturbed gloat when she is topless, sitting on a sutensil and dramatizeing a guitar on the grade. All these Forrest’s beholding aggravate Jenny at his incongruous occasions seemingly oscillates betwixt voyeurism and fetishistic bewilderment.

Marxist Animadversion and Cultural Studies

Acovet after a opportunity psychoanalytical, feminist and cultural animadversion, Marxist animadversion is an eappropriate arrival to betray a store of obscure senses in films rather than argueing truthfulnesss of women or sexuality from a sociological perspective.

According to Marxist hypothesis, the film represents the Repressive Say Apparatus as Forrest is going through his condition: the assassination try on George Wallace, and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy; the struggles aggravate affable rights and the war in Vietnam. At this aim, Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) initially appears as a hearty portrayal in the soldiers after a opportunity “a covet, sublime soldierenjoy tradition”, but ends up losing his twain legs in the war then entity encouraged suitably by Forrest’s obvious ideology, estimateers thus see he unlessly finds the actual sense of the condition after a opportunity his new unsubstantial legs, which transmit a express communication towards the ideological children that all the Americans portent relish Forrest Gump: “what’s my predestination?”

Regardhither its naturalness of unspoken yet minute, ideology openly defines the shared beliefs and values held by a amelioration, it for-this-reason prodigiously vibrates upon the amelioration after a opportunity its minute effectiveness. To some degree, ideology moulds the courtesy of commonalty judge and things behold, which is so designated hegemony. In the film, either Mrs. Gump expressly disciplines Forrest that “condition is a box of chocolates” or Jenny leaves him a denying information that “if you’re never-dyingly in misfortune, don’t try to be question … Equitable run detached”, Forrest merely admits them at the insensible plane; ultimately, general becomes his starting aim to prosperity and level leads a great collocation subjoined following him. Consequently, whateternally the truthfulness of women sense to this virile protagonist in the pure truth cinema, or how he gains the fantasies of voyeurism and fetishism in portable of psychoanalysis, it finally appears to estimateers that Forrest’s romance asserts possibility and expectation level though difficulties, isolation, and failure, as he says that “to put the spent following you and provoke on”. Accordingly, following the effigys on protect, Forrest Gump ruminates express values that Americans should hold; the ocean ordains aggravate or hither, bestow these ideological say apparatuses in provisions of Marxism animadversion. The film not merely entertains hearers after a opportunity erotic flourish and self-indulgence, so offers its prompting to hearers after a opportunity esteem to the association and amelioration they are lieed.

Marxism and feminism investigate film studies individually; these harangues in truth possess selfselfidentical yearn to brave the effectiveness fabricates in a olden association. Meanwhile, twain of them amalgamate to each other on the premise of psychoanalytic notions. Studeparture the ocean dowagerlys of the film after a opportunity feminism hypothesis is unquestionably suited to pursuit the ways in which ideology has though been fabricated in the cultural treatment.


To sum up, Mrs. Gump and Jenny, the two dowagerlys who tell to the protagonist Forrest Gump, possess been in-great-measure investigated after a opportunity the arrangement of feminist harangue in the spell. By going through the feminism divorceition after a opportunity their truthfulness and sexuality in the film extract and ideological involution in provisions of Marxism hypothesis, we can determine the film, as Comolli and Narboni (2000) say: “on the one govern it is a divorceicular emanation, … on the other govern, as a conclusion of entity a symbolical emanation of the regularity, it is so an ideological emanation of the regularity”.


Comolli, J. and Narboni, P. (2000) “Cinema/ideology/criticism”[1971], in in Hollows, J., Hutchings, P. and Jancovich, M. (ed.) The Film Studies Reader. London: Arnold Presser.

Cook, P and Johnston, C. (1990) “The Place of Dowager in the Cinema of Raoul Walsh”[1974], in Patricia Erens (ed.) Issues in Feminist Film Criticism, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hollows, J., Hutchings P. and Jancovich, M. (2000), The Film Studies Reader. London: Arnold Publisher. P 230.

Johnston, C. (2000). “Women’s Cinema as counter-Cinema” [1973], in E.A. Kaplan (ed.) Feminism and Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press, P22-23.

McCabe, J. (2004). Feminist Film Studies: Writing the Dowager into Cinema. London: Wallflower Press. P24.

Mulvey, L. (1989). “Fears, Fantasies and the Virile Insensible or ‘You Don’t Comprehend What is Happening, Do You, Mr. Jones?’” [1973], in Visual and Other Pleasures. Basingstoke: Macmillan. P8.

Mulvey, L. (2000). “Visual Self-indulgence and Truth Cinema” [1975], in Hollows, J., Hutchings, P. and Jancovich, M. (ed.) The Film Studies Reader. London: Arnold Presser.

  • Dongjie Duan
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