Thursday, March 17, 2011

Risks without Riskiness

“He takes risks but experiences nothing of their riskiness: a Vietnam with no Vietnamese, capitalism with no workers, and profit at a distance both from production and exploitation.” (Berlant, Lauren Gail. "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, NC: Duke UP, 1997. Print.)

As Berlant claims, Forest Gump appears to have a magical shield provided by his ignorance. This shield becomes most apparent in Gump’s experience in Vietnam. Although he is subject to people falling all around him, he does not experience any real danger. When he is in the midst of conflict, he ducks because he has been trained to do so. He runs because he is told to. However, he returns to the conflict because of his loyalty to his friends, and tries to save Bubba, but rescues everyone that he sees. Despite the number of times he returns to the fighting, he is never seriously injured, receiving only a gunshot wound in the buttocks. Gump “takes risks but experiences nothing of their riskiness” and manages to come out unscathed every time (Berlant 185).

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