Study Guide

Forrest Gump Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

JENNY: Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you're going to be?

To Forrest, this question is as meaningless as asking what he thinks of Zayn Malik's new haircut. He doesn't understand the question, and he won't respond to it. To him, life happens in the present; people are who they are, and life is what it is. Only Jenny can dream big enough to imagine a future in which she's someone else. Fat lot of good it does her.

FORREST: Who I'm going to be? Aren't I going to be me?

Forrest must get his talent for folksy sayings from his momma because this is worthy of Mrs. Gump. He's always going to be himself, whether that's in the jungles of Vietnam or on the prow of a shrimping boat. To Forrest, that stability feels safe; to Jenny, it feels like a trap.

BUBBA: I'm going into the shrimping business myself after I get out of the Army.

Even Bubba has more of a dream than Forrest: he wants to own a shrimping boat. Unfortunately, he—like everyone else in the movie, except Forrest—doesn't get to fulfill his dream. That's okay! Forrest lives it for him. (If you're getting the sense that this movie is massively unfair to most of its characters, we'd have to say we think you're right.)

FORREST: Her dream had come true. She was a folk singer.

When Forrest sees Jenny playing guitar in a club, he's stoked to think that everything has worked out. Unfortunately, it's a lot less of a dream and a lot more nightmare since the only reason anyone is in the club is to see what Jenny is hiding underneath her guitar. (Answer: nothing.) To our way of thinking, this is just one more example of Jenny getting smacked down for dreaming too big.

FORREST: I hoped whatever [Jenny] was doing made her happy.

Poor Jenny. She's constantly in pursuit of some new dream, and she's constantly getting her hopes and ambitions crushed. It takes a deadly disease to make Forrest's offer of a safe and comfortable life seem like anything but a nightmare.

FORREST: I wanted to be your boyfriend.

All Forrest has ever really wanted from life was to be Jenny's boyfriend and/or husband. Seems simple enough, right? But, it takes a lot of hard living from both of them for Jenny and Forrest to finally meet each other on the same level.

FORREST: Will you marry me? I'd make a good husband, Jenny.

JENNY: You would, Forrest.

Once again, Jenny crushes Forrest's dream—but we can't really blame her at this point. She's still got dreams of her own, and unfortunately, they don't involve settling down in her hometown with her borderline IQ childhood friend. It's okay, Forrest, just give it some time. After the universe crushes Jenny's dreams a few more times, she'll be ready to come running back to you.

FORREST: Somebody later told me it gave people hope.

Forrest may not be much for wishing and dreaming, but he has a way of inspiring people—like when he starts running across America and becomes a blank slate for everyone to project their own dreams onto.

OLD LADY: It was nice talking to you. I hope everything works out for you!

Forrest may not have many hopes or dreams for himself, but he has a way of getting people on his side. Just like the old lady who sends Forrest off to find Jenny, we can't help but cross our fingers that this is going to be the moment when Forrest's one dream finally comes true.

JENNY: Will you marry me, Forrest?

FORREST: OK.

Dreams do come true! Jenny has spent her whole life running away from Forrest, but now that she's dying of AIDS and has a son to take care of, she's ready to accept his love. All we have to say is that she's lucky he stuck around.

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