Wednesday, March 16, 2011


"Because he is mentally incapable of making plans or thinking conceptually, he follows rules and orders literally" (Berlant 182).

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.

There were a few things that struck me about this particular line in Berlant's critical analysis of the film Forrest Gump. I felt somewhat displeased through Berlant's portrayal of Forrest's character and mental disability in this particular line. Throughout the film, Forrest is portrayed as a "mentally incapable" person; however, there are multiple examples throughout the film that contradict this portrayal. One specific scene in the film was when Forrest asked Jenny to marry him and he told her that he knew what "love" was about. I felt that is was too bold for Berlant to say that Forrest could not "think conceptually." I feel that there is an inner genius in Forrest. Berlant does mention the word "genius" in her essay however, Forrest deserves more creditation for the things he did. I do agree that Forrest did things "literally," but he these things through trust. We discussed in class about how Forrest was considered the ideal American citizen. I believe that trust is heavily imperative in this situation. Throughout the film, Forrest succeeded in the Army and became an All-American football player because he believed/trusted in his sergeants and football coaches. I felt like Forrest was not mentally incapable throughout the film. His personality may seem strange to average society, but Forrest did things through maximal effort. This is why Forrest Gump is the ideal American. Whether one views Forrest as mentally unstable, he did everything with great effort.

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