Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Conceptual Thinking and A Model American

Berlant, Lauren. "On Being Normal, Average, Common, Ordinary, Standard, Typical, and Usual in Contemporary America." The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997. 180-87.

Berlant contradicts herself significantly when she mentions that Forrest is “mentally incapable of making plans or thinking conceptually” (182). Gump follows most orders, but he appears to have personal obligations in the scene where he runs back in forth, rescuing his injured comrades. He ignores Captain Dan’s request to be left behind. We see through this scene, that Forrest is capable of thinking conceptually as he save Cpt. Dan. Gump does survive on account of his maneuvers, but does this necessarily make the “audience want to rewrite recent U.S. history into a world that might have sustained a Forrest Gump”? I think so. Obviously the setting of the movie portrays the radical 60s and 70s, which are relieved by President Reagan, “who operates according to a natural regime of justice and common sense” (184). Gump differs from his peers because he obeys orders and he is successful because of them, suggesting that there needs to be a cultural shift that values a strong leader like Reagan. All in all, Forrest Gump shows that he can think conceptually and that his type of character is highly valued during the Reagan presidency, which brought about a more civilized nation than recent decades.

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