movie, Forrest Gump, tells the major
historic events in America from a comical perspective. Forrest Gump is about a
southern man, who has a learning disability, and his journey through his life.
Through the infamous quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know
what you’re going to get” (Spector), he narrates the
story to give his raw feelings about the situations he was faced with as he
grew into adulthood. Because of Forrest’s disability, he tends to have regular
reactions to things that are considered major.
the major events portrayed in Forrest Gump is the Vietnam War. After Forrest
finishes playing football for his university, he is asked by a recruiter if he
would like to join the Army and he does with no question. The Vietnam war began
after the Geneva Conference divided Vietnam into the Democratic Republic of
Vietnam(North) and the Republic of Vietnam(South). In the beginning of 1965,
the U.S started air strikes on North Vietnam and on Communist-owned areas in
South Vietnam. By 1966, there were roughly 190,000 troops in South Vietnam. In
the movie, Forrest seemed to feel indifferent about going to Vietnam. Many
soldiers who enlisted in the army to fight in the war were scared because they
knew there was a possibility they wouldn’t return. A soldier by the name Tex
Howard, who was interviewed by Sharon Rayner, says he was told to join to “help
stop communist aggression—to keep it over there instead of letting it come into
the United States,…” (Howard). In the movie, the
recruiter simply asked Forrest had he ever thought about serving his country.
Vietnam was gruesome war. According to Britannica.com, “The U.S. military has
estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in
the war. (Spector)” In 1982, the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial was made in remembrance of the 57,939 members of U.S.
armed forces who went missing or were tragically killed (Spector).
As a result of Forrest going
to Vietnam, he was allowed the awesome opportunity to meet the President of the
United States. It was a very proud moment for him and his family. While he was
in Vietnam recovering from his bullet wound to the buttocks, he learned how to
play ping pong and mastered his skills. He eventually went on to play globally
against China. Because of his victory, he was able to meet the President—for
the third time. Gregory N. Bond says that Forrest is “…remarkably unaffected by
all that life has brought him: “So I went to the Whitehouse—AGAIN—and met the President—AGAIN”
in a very ho-hum voice.” It is obvious that Forrest doesn’t necessarily
understand how big his impact is on the things he was doing. While in
Washington D.C meeting the president for the 3rd time, at his hotel,
he was disturbed by some lights in another room. He called the president and
explained the disturbance. The irony is that Forrest was witnessing the
Watergate Scandal. According to History.com, The Watergate scandal began early in
the morning of June 17, 1972, when several burglars were arrested in the office
of the Democratic National Committee. The robberies weren’t looking for
anything of monetary value, but instead they were caught for document stealing
and wiretapping phones. President Nixon tried hard to neglect all allegations
of his participation in it but he eventually resigned after his part in the
conspiracy was present.
Forrest says, “Coons?
Mama just chase em’off with a broom,” when he was informed that ‘coons’ we’re
trying to get into their university. A ‘Coon’ is a racial slur for a black
person back in the early 60’s. The Brown vs. Board of Education case would
eventually end all segregation in schools. Forrest is oblivious to the
prominent racism during his time. Forrest himself was named after a KKK leader
and was told the leader was just a man who rode on a horse in all white. Before
1964, black people were not treated fairly.
Black men usually have to put on a facade when they get around white men. This
is because throughout history, black men have always been seen an inferior to
the white man. Back then, a black man’s mood would change around a white
man. Whenever a white man would come in
contact with a black man, the environment would change. The black men would
have to sit and take whatever the white men would do to them and then would be
severely punished if they retaliated. You could see that Forrest knew there was
a division when he was weary to sit with Bubba when he first meets in Basic
Bond, Gregory N. “Forrest Gump (1994).”
“Forrest Gump.” August 2011. runforrestrun.umwblogs.org.
Howard, Tex. A soldier’s experience in Vietnam:
Tex Howard Sharon Raynor. 2001.
Spector, Ronald H. Encyclopedia Britannica.
Vietnam War.” “Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia,
6th Edition”. Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition,
Mar. 2017, pp. 1-2. EBSCOhost,
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