Study Guide

Forrest Gump Bubba (Mykelti Williamson)

Bubba (Mykelti Williamson)

If Jenny and Forrest are like peas and carrots, then Forrest and Benjamin Buford Blue, aka Bubba, are like … shrimp and shrimp. Er, peanut butter and peanut butter?

Well, we can't quite make the simile work, but the point is that they're basically the same person. Like Forrest, Bubba isn't too bright. Like Forrest, he likes to talk about himself and tell people stories from his life. Like Forrest, he's a friendly, family-oriented guy who just wants to make people happy.

Grab a Seat

Forrest pours his heart out on a bus-stop bench, and Bubba pours his out on a bus seat, on a bus that's taking the two men to the Army. He tells Forrest his name and his entire family story, which culminates with him saying he's a shrimp fisherman at heart and that he knows "everything there is to know about the shrimping business." He then goes on to list just about every type of way there is to prepare shrimp, ending with, "shrimp salad, shrimp in potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That's about it."

(But, is it? Is it really?)

Forrest and Bubba eventually grow so tight that Bubba even says straight out, "You know why we're a good partnership, Forrest? 'Cause we be watching out for one another, like brothers and stuff." He and Forrest promise each other that they'll go into the shrimping business together when the war is over as Bubba says, "We can just work it together, split everything right down the middle."

Unfortunately, Bubba dies before this dream can come true. But, to the end, Bubba remains true to his simple dream just like Forrest does. His final words are, "I want to go home," a heartbreaking statement because it shows us that Bubba never loses his innocent wish to go back home and fulfill his dream. Sniff.

Black and White

Okay, here's our question: why does he have to die in the first place? Why can't the daring duo be Forrest and Bubba rather than Forrest and Lt. Dan? For that matter, why aren't we watching Benjamin Buford Blue rather than Forrest Gump?

We think it comes down to the ugly little side of American history called racism. Forrest and Bubba are two sides of the same coin, but one of those sides happens to be black. And, no matter how low Forrest's IQ is, he's got the privilege of being a white man.

That athletic scholarship? Bubba could never have gotten that, no matter how fast he runs: the University of Alabama only reluctantly desegregated in 1963.

That lucrative ping-pong sponsorship? Black athletes didn't win lucrative endorsement deals until decades after the 1970s.

In our opinion, Bubba suffers the same fate as Jenny: he doesn't fit into the movie's narrative of American optimism and success, so he's got to go. We bet you're really crying now.

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