Study Guide

Forrest Gump Love

Love

JENNY: You can't keep doing this all the time.

FORREST: I can't help it. I love you.

Forrest has a way of pummeling any boys who touch Jenny because he doesn't understand the difference between wanted and unwanted touching. (Tbh, not all of the boys touching Jenny seem to understand that, either.) Forrest is—we hate to say it, but it's kind of true—sort of like a dog who menaces anyone who gets close to his master. Is this love? Or is it just blind obsession?

FORREST: I'd always let her know that I was OK. Then I'd sign each letter, "Love, Forrest Gump."

If we were friends with Forrest, we'd probably try to sit him down for a heart-to-heart about lost causes. Luckily, Forrest would probably just ignore us.

FORREST: I'd never named a boat before, but there was only one I could think of, the most beautiful name in the wide world.

Even knowing how this movie is going to end, we can't help cringing a little when Forrest keeps on throwing himself at a Jenny-shaped wall. Even when she's been out of his life for years, she's the first person he thinks about. If this is what love is, we'll pass.

FORREST: But at nighttime when there was nothing to do and the house was all empty, I'd always think of Jenny. And then, she was there.

Well, gee, isn't this convenient: Jenny shows up at Forrest's house after his mother has died and he's become a millionaire. Fate? Chance? Or just some savvy thinking on Jenny's part? We bet it's nice knowing that somewhere out there is a rich guy who'll always take you back.

JENNY: You don't know what love is.

Talk about a sick burn. What Jenny means here is that she thinks you've got to have a certain IQ before you can recognize love. But, the movie tells us that she's wrong. Love and devotion are basic human emotions, and every human has a right to them, an IQ of 75 or not.

FORREST: Why don't you love me, Jenny?

Ugh, Forrest. Jenny might as well ask why you love her. How could she possibly answer that question? Love is a basic human emotion, and it's as impossible to say why you love someone as it is to say why you're afraid of flying—you just are. (Well, that and because any decent-minded person would recognize that if God had meant for us to fly, we'd have wings.)

FORREST: I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is.

There are a lot of things Forrest doesn't know: French, integral calculus, how to write a sonnet, and the difference between metonymy and synecdoche. (Okay, we're just guessing, but it's probably true.) But, love isn't something you learn at school, and if Forrest doesn't know what love is, then we guess we don't know, either.

JENNY: Forrest, I do love you.

Aw, Jenny. We can't hate her because we know that loving Forrest has never been the problem—it's acting on that love that's given her trouble. For Jenny, love has always been a trap, and it takes a lot of hard living for her to see it as anything else.

JENNY: I wish I could've been there with you.

FORREST: You were.

JENNY: I love you.

When Forrest describes all of the beautiful things he saw while running across America, Jenny says she wishes she could have been there with him. Guess what! She was—because he never stopped thinking about her the whole time. Ugh, you guys, get a room.

FORREST: I want to tell you I love you.

FORREST JR.: I love you, too, Daddy.

Poor Forrest has been walking around his whole life with all of this love to give and no one to spend it on—until now. Forrest might not be helping Junior with his homework; that's fine. He's got plenty of money to hire tutors and more than enough love to give this kid the best kind of childhood a boy could want.

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