Study Guide

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump Summary

We open with a shot of a feather blowing through the air and wafting gently down to land on Forrest Gump, who puts it in his suitcase while he sits on a bus-stop bench. A woman plops down beside him, and he offers her a chocolate. 

Turns out, you really shouldn't take candy from strangers because you might find yourself roped into listening to their life story. Forrest reminisces about his past and tells the woman the whole sad story of how he grew up with an IQ of 75 and braces on his legs but never minded because he had his momma and his friend Jenny to help him.

Yep, this is gonna be a long one.

Forrest's story takes us all the way back to college, which Forrest enters on a scholarship after he learns to run without his braces, and he turns out to be an amazing football player. He periodically visits Jenny at her own college, but Jenny is more interested in running off and pursuing her own hippie dreams than she is in being with Forrest and living in their hometown of Greenbow, Alabama.

Which, when you put it that way, seems legit.

After college, Forrest signs up for the Army and ships off to fight in the Vietnam War. There, he buddies up with a guy named Bubba who dreams of going into the shrimping business once the war is over. He and Forrest pinkie swear that they'll go into business together once the war is over. We've never known anyone to break a pinkie swear, so that sounds like a solid deal.

Unfortunately, Bubba dies during the war. But Forrest manages to save his commanding officer, Lieutenant Dan, who has lost his legs in a firefight. So, new friend.

While recovering in a veterans' hospital, Forrest tries ping pong for the first time and finds out—wait for it—that he's basically a ping-pong superstar. He tours as a ping-pong player to promote Army recruitment and even travels to Communist China to play their best players.

So, there's that.

Eventually, Forrest is discharged, travels back to America, and immediately runs into Jenny in Washington, D.C. He tries to save Jenny from an abusive boyfriend, but Jenny runs away from him again. 

Next, Forrest heads to New York City. He meets up there with a wheelchair-bound Lt. Dan, who hears about Forrest's plan to become a shrimp boat captain in memory of Bubba. Lt. Dan finds it so funny (uh, and sweet?) that he promises to be Forrest's first mate if it ever happens.

Naturally, Forrest then heads down to Louisiana to become the captain of a shrimping boat with Lt. Dan as his first mate. (It's Forrest, people. Don't act surprised.) It's a big failure until a hurricane destroys every shrimping boat along the Gulf Coast except theirs. Now, they're raking in shrimp and also millions of dollars.

While he's making all of his money, Forrest finds out that his momma is sick, so he heads back to his hometown of Greenbow to be with her until she dies of cancer. Forrest lives in her house for a while until Jenny shows up on his doorstep one day. Oh, and meanwhile, Forrest makes even more money after Lt. Dan makes a savvy investment in a little company called Apple Computer.

Forrest and Jenny live together for a while (and do a little living in sin while they're at it). Eventually, after Forrest proposes, she runs away again, and Forrest runs, too—back and forth across America, inadvertently inspiring the nation.

Until one day, he up and stops running—and heads home.

Back home after three years of running, Forrest gets a letter from Jenny asking him to visit her. This takes us right back to the present day, with Forrest sitting on the bus-stop bench waiting to get to Jenny's house. An old woman sitting next to Forrest tells him that Jenny's address is only a few blocks away, so—yep—he takes off running.

It turns out that Jenny is sick, probably with AIDS, and they have a son together—also named Forrest. Forrest wants to know if his son is like him (low IQ) or if he's smart, and Jenny tells him that their son is one of the smartest in his class. Jenny ends this scene by asking Forrest to marry her.

Jenny and Forrest head back to Greenbow to get married. Not long after, Jenny dies. Forrest buries her and lives on to raise their son, Forrest Jr. The movie ends with Forrest sending his son off on his first day of school and telling him that he loves him.

We hope you have a sweet tooth 'cause that's the (oh-so-saccharine) end.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • As the opening credits roll, we see a white feather floating toward a neighborhood park.
    • "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever filmed," an adolescent boy says in voice-over.
    • Wait, no. What actually happens is that the feather lands near a man sitting on a bus-stop bench, and he puts it in a little briefcase next to him.
    • A woman comes and takes a seat. She tries to read a book, but he says hello and introduces himself before offering her a chocolate.
    • Okay, #1, never take candy from strangers. And #2, can't a woman just read a book in peace?
    • He tells her that his mother always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates," because you never know what you're going to get. You know, maybe you'll get the delicious pistachio nougat, or maybe you'll get the weird chewy fruit gel. Yuck.
    • The woman shows good judgment in that she hardly looks up from her book as Forrest continues to talk about his momma's down-home sayings.
    • Eventually, the woman can't ignore him anymore, and she looks up while Forrest reminisces about his first pairs of shoes—like the ones his mom called a "magic pair" that could take him anywhere.
    • When the movie cuts to a flashback, we realize that Forrest is talking about leg braces because as a kid, he had a crooked back.
    • Forrest says he was named after the man who started the Ku Klux Klan to remind him that sometimes, people do stuff that makes no sense, which … makes no sense. How meta.
    • When young Forrest gets his brace stuck in a sewer grate, his mom helps him out and snaps at some men who are gawking. She tells Forrest never to let anyone say they're better than him.
    • Forrest goes on to talk about how he and his mom lived in a big house that had been in his mom's family for a dozen or so generations.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • Just after his mom tells Forrest he's no different from anyone else, which only Forrest would believe, we cut to Forrest's school principal, who says Forrest can't attend a regular school because his IQ is only 75. The state requires a minimum IQ of 80.
    • Forrest's mom isn't going to give up on him. She wants him to have the same education as anyone else and is willing to do just about anything.
    • The principal then asks Mrs. Gump if there's a Mr. Gump in the picture. Turns out he's "on vacation."
    • Cut to Forrest, who sits outside his house while his mother has sex with the principal in order to get Forrest into public school.
    • Good parenting, or best parenting? You decide.
    • Now, we see Forrest's mother reading to him, and Forrest asks her what vacation means, like whatever his daddy is doing. She answers that vacation means when someone goes away and never comes back.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • Despite the absence of his father, Forrest says that he and his mother were never lonely because his mother rented out the rooms of her house so often that there were always people coming and going.
    • Like once, there was this man who thought Forrest's dancing was pretty cool, the way his leg braces forced him to move around and swing his hips.
    • That's right; apparently, Forrest gave Elvis Presley the inspiration to swing his hips around on stage.
    • Years later, Forrest and his mother walk by a TV store and see Elvis Presley performing onstage. Forrest's mom finds the dancing obscene.
    • Forrest's childhood is full of aw-shucks moments like this, like when Forrest is supposed to take the bus to school for the first time. He won't get on right away because he's not supposed to take rides with strangers. But, that's okay! He just introduces himself and the bus driver introduces herself, so they're not strangers anymore.
    • On the bus, the other kids turn Forrest away from their seats until a girl named Jenny says he can sit beside her.
    • She asks him what's wrong with his legs, but he says they're just fine. She tries again and asks if he's stupid, and he says his mother always says, "Stupid is as stupid does."
    • That's inarguable.
    • Jenny must have liked those answers because pretty soon, the two crazy kids are inseparable.
    • And soon, Forrest realizes that Jenny never wants to go home.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Still in flashback—one day, some bullies get their jollies by throwing rocks at Forrest. He runs when Jenny tells him to, but his braces slow him down.
    • As the kids close in on their bikes, Forrest picks up the pace. Eventually, he's running so fast that his braces break off his legs, and he takes off faster than the kids can ride their bikes.
    • From that day forward, Forrest would always run wherever he had to go.
    • Now, we see Forrest running up to Jenny's house. Apparently, Jenny's mother is dead, and her father is always grabbing and touching her.
    • Forrest doesn't know the difference between good and bad touching, so he just thinks Jenny's dad is really loving.
    • One day, Jenny isn't on the bus for school. When Forrest goes to see her, she grabs his hands and pulls him into a cornfield while her father chases after them. She asks Forrest to pray for her to turn into a bird so she can fly away.
    • Now, God didn't necessarily turn her into a bird, but according to Forrest, he did send the police to take her away from her father.
    • Jenny and Forrest stay friends all through school. Sometimes, Jenny even sneaks into Forrest's house and sleep in his bed with him. Ouch, talk about being friend-zoned.
    • One day, some bullies try to chase Forrest down again—but this time, they have a pickup truck.
    • Forrest turns onto a football field and zooms past the other players on the field—so fast that the coach recruits him for the team, and Forrest ends up getting into college on a football scholarship.
    • It's not clear if Forrest is 100 percent up on the rules of the game, but he sure is fast. In one game, Forrest runs for a touchdown and keeps running right on through a marching band.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • Now, Forrest recollects how he found college a confusing time in his life. Forrest: he's just like us!
    • Well, not quite like us, actually. He remembers the day the U.S. government first forced universities to admit black students.
    • Forrest visits the angry mob outside the University of Alabama. He wants to know what's going on, and one of the racist onlookers says that the government is trying to get "coons" into the university.
    • Forrest doesn't really understand racism, so he assumes the guy is talking about raccoons and says that they should just chase them away with a broom. Hey, don't give them any ideas.
    • Forrest watches on as George Wallace, the governor of Alabama, makes his infamous speech against admitting black students into white schools.
    • While two black students enter the university, Forrest notices that one of them has dropped a book, and he runs to give it back to her. It's still clear that he doesn't understand the racism that's going on all around him.
    • A few years later, Forrest tells us, Governor George Wallace runs for president and is shot before the election, but he doesn't die. (AP U.S. History Shmoopers, are you taking notes yet?)
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • A second woman joins Forrest and the first woman on the bus-stop bench. The first woman gets on a bus, leaving the second with Forrest. She's immediately down to chat, saying she can remember when Governor Wallace was shot.
    • Forrest tells the woman that Jenny went to an all-girls college, and he would visit her any chance he got. This didn't always end well.
    • Like, one night, a young Forrest sees Jenny in (apparent) distress in a car with a guy. He throws open the car door and starts beating on the guy in the driver's seat. The guy angrily drives away after Jenny gets out of the car.
    • Add sex to the list of things that Forrest doesn't quite seem to get.
    • Jenny is super mad, but she sneaks Forrest into her dorm anyway to dry him off. She asks him if he ever dreams about who he's going to be. Forrest doesn't understand how he can be anything other than what he is, making him akin to a much less angst-filled Hannah Horvath.
    • Jenny says that she'd like to be a famous singer someday and truly speak to people through her music.
    • They both strip to their underwear, and Jenny asks him if he's ever been with a girl. (Spoiler: no.) She takes off her bra and puts Forrest's hand on her naked breast.
    • Forrest—how shall we say this?—immediately ejaculates and assumes he's done something horribly wrong, but Jenny reassures him that it's OK.
    • It happens to lots of guys, really.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • Forrest eventually makes the All-America football team and gets to meet John F. Kennedy. How super exciting!
    • But all Forrest remembers about it is that he drinks around 15 free Dr Peppers and has to pee the whole time he's shaking JFK's hand.
    • Forrest also reminisces about how JFK and his brother Bobby were both shot dead.
    • After five years of playing football, Forrest gets a college degree. His mother couldn't be prouder of him.
    • After the ceremony, a recruiter comes up and asks Forrest to join the Army. That's exactly what Forrest does.
    • When he climbs on the bus taking him to basic training, it's like the first day of school all over again, with no one wanting to sit with him.
    • Finally, a black man named Bubba offers him a seat and asks if he's ever been on a real shrimping boat. Turns out, Bubba has a way of telling people about himself, just like Forrest.
    • Bubba comes from a long line of mothers who have cooked shrimp for white masters.
    • The Army turns out to be a great fit for Forrest because he has an easy time following orders and he's exceptionally good at putting together his weapon.
    • He and Bubba become BFFs, even though (because?) their conversation mostly consists of Bubba listing every single way of cooking shrimp. The man has a serious thing for shrimp is what we're saying.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Forrest finds nighttime tough in the Army because he misses sweet Jenny.
    • One night, a guy throws him a pornography magazine, and guess who's in it? We'll wait.
    • Wow, you got that fast. Yep, it's Jenny. Turns out, Jenny was kicked out of college for wearing her college sweater during the porno shoot.
    • That little gig landed her another one singing folk songs naked in a live nude show theater, and Forrest goes to see her.
    • This is basically the saddest thing we've seen since Tyrion caught his dad with Shae.
    • All of the men jeer and want to see Jenny naked, while Forrest is just stoked that Jenny's dreams have come true because she's singing for an audience. Ouch. Right in the feels, Tom Hanks.
    • One of the men in the front row tries to put money in Jenny's shoe and harasses her. Springing into action, Forrest runs right down and pummels him.
    • Jenny flips and tells Forrest she's sick of him always trying to rescue her when she doesn't need rescuing. Forrest chases her down the street trying to apologize, saying he can't help himself because he loves her.
    • Jenny tells him he doesn't know what love is.
    • Does he remember when they were young, and Jenny asked him to pray for her to turn into a bird? He does. Jenny then asks him if she could fly off the bridge they're standing on.
    • We get the sense here that Jenny is having suicidal thoughts.
    • Jenny grabs a ride on the next truck that passes by and leaves. Before she goes, Forrest tells her that he's being sent off to Vietnam to fight in the war. Jenny tells him not to be brave if there's trouble but just to turn and run away. Forrest promises to write to her all of the time.
    • And, just like that, Jenny disappears from Forrest's life.
    • The last time we see him in the U.S., Forrest is sitting next to a pond beside his mother. She makes him promise to come back safely to her.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • It's off to Vietnam for Forrest and his best buddy, Bubba. (Try that three times fast.) They arrive in their camp and meet their superior, Lieutenant Dan Taylor.
    • Lt. Dan gives them some advice about staying alive in Vietnam, saying that the most important thing to remember is to keep their socks dry all of the time. Infections from wet feet are one of the biggest causes of death on the front lines.
    • Apparently, Lt. Dan has a fine family history. He can boast that a member of his family has fought and died in every American war, which might be why he almost has a sixth sense for spotting danger in the jungles of Vietnam.
    • Forrest ends up enjoying Vietnam because there's always something to do and somewhere to go. At one point, there was nothing but rain for four months.
    • Forrest and Bubba sleep back to back so they don't have to lay their heads in the mud. One night, Bubba asks Forrest to go into the shrimping business with him after the war ends.
    • All through the war, Forrest writes to Jenny, but she never responds. She's too busy becoming a hippie and traveling around the U.S.
    • One day, Forrest and his platoon finds themselves under attack. They run, and of course, Forrest is the fastest runner. Pretty soon, he's all alone because the others can't keep up. He turns and heads back to Bubba.
    • On the way, Forrest picks up his buddy Tex and carries him away from the trouble. Then, he heads back for Bubba. But, every time he goes back, he finds someone else who needs help and brings him first to safety.
    • One of those guys is Lt. Dan, who refuses to let Forrest help him. Forrest carries Lt. Dan away against his will and gets shot (or "bit," in Forrest's words) in the butt, with Lt. Dan screaming the whole time to be left behind.
    • Forrest goes back one last time for Bubba just as an airstrike is coming in. He finds Bubba and carries him away as the jungle explodes behind them. When they get to safety, Bubba asks why all of this has happened and then dies in Forrest's arms. Sniff.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Back in the present day, a new person has joined Forrest on the bus-stop bench. He's there to hear that Forrest goes to a hospital for treatment and finds himself alongside Lt. Dan, who has lost both of his legs.
    • In the hospital, Forrest gets a huge stack of letters from Jenny that never made it to him on the front lines. Aw.
    • While he's recovering in an Army hospital, Forrest learns how to play ping pong. For some reason, ping pong comes naturally to him, and he turns into a sort of prodigy.
    • One night, Lt. Dan pulls Forrest out of his bed and curses him for pulling him away from his destiny, which was to die in the war with honor.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • One day, a messenger comes up to Forrest to inform him that he's been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He wants to share the good news with Lt. Dan, but the Army has sent him home.
    • Two weeks later, Forrest leaves Vietnam and meets President Lyndon B. Johnson. He misinterprets one of Johnson's comments and drops his pants to show him the wound in his butt.
    • While touring Washington, D.C., one day, Forrest gets sucked into a group of war protesters and finds himself on stage talking about the war in Vietnam. Just as he's about to talk, an Army guy tears all of the wires out of the protest's PA system.
    • They only get the thing up and running again as Forrest finishes his speech, which is probably a good thing seeing as Forrest doesn't realize he's at a protest.
    • Just then, Jenny run out of the crowd and into the big pool at the Washington Monument. Forrest runs out to her and hugs her in the pool.
    • Next up, Forrest finds himself at a meeting of the Black Panthers, a pro-black defense group that gained a lot of influence in the 1960s and '70s.
    • Forrest sees Jenny's boyfriend, Wesley, hit her in the next room, and of course, he runs over and punches the guy in the face a bunch of times.
    • After he beats up Wesley, Forrest and Jenny leave. Jenny makes excuses for Wesley and says he doesn't mean it when he hits her.
    • Forrest tells Jenny he'd like to be her boyfriend instead of Wesley. Boy, is this guy persistent. She dodges his statement and comments on his Army uniform.
    • We learn that for the past few years, Jenny has been doing drugs and living on the streets with her hippie friends, and now, she's going to travel to San Francisco with some friends.
    • Forrest gives her his Medal of Honor to remember him by, and once again, Jenny walks out of Forrest's life.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Forrest thinks the government will send him back to Vietnam, but instead, they keep him home to play ping pong professionally and to put on shows to inspire the troops. He even travels to China to play their best players. By the time he gets back home, he's a sports star.
    • Forrest appears on a talk show where John Lennon is another guest, and he manages to inspire Lennon to write "Imagine."
    • After the interview, Forrest is accosted by Lt. Dan, who is now a long-haired dude living in really poor conditions. Lt. Dan is furious that the government gave Forrest the Medal of Honor.
    • Apparently, the Army keeps sending priests to ask Lt. Dan if he's found Jesus yet. He doesn't believe in heaven, although Forrest thinks he'll get in anyway.
    • Lt. Dan then asks Forrest to go find some more liquor for him because it's New Year's Eve.
    • While they hang, Forrest says he's going to find some money to buy a shrimping boat because he made a promise to Bubba.
    • Lt. Dan sneeringly says that he'll happily be the first mate if Forrest Gump ever becomes a shrimp boat captain.
    • Two women come up to Lt. Dan and Forrest, and Forrest wonders how Jenny is spending her New Year's Eve out in California.
    • Look here, it's Jenny! She's living in a dingy place and heading out on New Year's Eve.
    • Now, we're back with Forrest and Lt. Dan, and Lt. Dan is staring off into space.
    • One of the women jumps on Forrest and tries to kiss him. Forrest knocks her off, and the women ask if he's stupid. Lt. Dan loses his mind and tells them to get out, falling out of his wheelchair in the process.
    • Forrest apologizes for ruining Lt. Dan's NYE party, and Lt. Dan wishes him a happy new year.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • A few months after his New Year's Eve with Lt. Dan, Forrest's ping-pong skills nab him an invite to the White House.
    • This time around, Forrest meets President Richard Nixon. (That's three different presidents, if anyone is keeping count.)
    • Nixon offers to put Forrest up in a nice hotel called the Watergate. In the middle of the night, Forrest calls the front desk to complain about men with flashlights in the room across from his.
    • Little does he know it, but he's actually the one responsible for exposing the great Watergate scandal that would eventually end Richard Nixon's presidency.
    • One day, Forrest is playing ping pong when a man walks up to him and says his Army service has finished and he's been discharged. Forrest responds by running back home to his momma.
    • When he gets home, Forrest finds out that all kinds of companies have been offering money if Forrest agrees to endorse their ping-pong products. Sure, says Forrest, and wouldn't you know it? The sponsorship gives him the money he needs to go buy a shrimping boat and keep his promise to Bubba.
    • Forrest visits Bubba's family, who ask him if he's crazy or just plain stupid to take on a shrimping boat with no prior experience. "Stupid is as stupid does," he says, and then he visits Bubba's grave to tell Bubba about the new shrimping boat he's bought.
    • Forrest doesn't have much luck with shrimping at first, and someone tells him to name his boat for good luck. The name he picks? Jenny.
    • Meanwhile, we see Jenny in California doing cocaine at a club and later sitting in bed next to a guy doing heroine. She gets out of bed in a daze and goes to the edge of her apartment's balcony to stand on the railing, looking down over the streets below. It looks like she's going to jump and finally fulfill her dream of becoming a bird.
    • Instead, she backs off at the last second and cries in a chair.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • Forrest keeps trying and failing to catch shrimp until one day, he comes into the dock and sees Lt. Dan waiting for him. He's so excited that he jumps off his boat and swims to Lt. Dan.
    • Turns out, Lt. Dan wants to keep his joking promise of coming to be Forrest's first mate. In the background, we watch Forrest's drifting boat smash through a dock.
    • This is going to end well.
    • Lt. Dan hangs out at the top of Forrest's mast and directs him toward shrimp, but they have no luck. Forrest even goes to a Baptist church every Sunday to pray for shrimp, and they still catch nothing.
    • And then, wouldn't you know it, the moment Lt. Dan asks Forrest where his God is supposed to be, a huge storm blows in and traps them out at sea.
    • During the storm, Lt. Dan hangs out at the top of the boat and screams at God and nature while the rain whips at him. He even laughs and promises them that they'll never sink the boat.
    • As it turns out, the storm they are trapped in is 1974's Hurricane Carmen, which destroys every boat in the region except—wait for it—Lt. Dan and Forrest's, the only one out at sea. All of the others are smashed against the shore.
    • Now that they're the only boat on the water, they catch a ton of shrimp, end up buying a fleet of 12 boats, and create the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
    • At this point, the man sitting next to Forrest on the bench (in the present day) stops Forrest and laughs at the thought that this goofball sitting next to him is the owner of the massive Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
    • The man just laughs and walks away, but another old woman sitting on the bench says that she loved Forrest's story. Forrest asks the woman if she'd like to see a picture of Lt. Dan, and then he shows her a picture of himself and Lt. Dan on the cover of Fortune magazine.
    • Gee, guess he was telling the truth after all.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • One day, Lt. Dan stops Forrest in the middle of his shrimping and thanks him for saving his life back in Vietnam. Forrest thinks that in this moment, Lt. Dan makes his peace with God.
    • Forrest gets a phone call that his mother is sick and leaves the shrimping to Lt. Dan. He runs all of the way home to see his mother and finds her dying in bed. She comforts Forrest by telling him that death is just a part of life.
    • She tells Forrest that he'll have to figure out his destiny just like she did (to be his mother).
    • Forrest buries her on a Tuesday.
    • When we flash back to the present day, the old woman next to Forrest is crying at this sad part in his story. She even misses her bus so she can keep listening to him.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • After his mom dies, Forrest takes a job mowing Greenbow's municipal lawns. In the meantime, Lt. Dan runs the shrimping business and keeps sending Forrest his cut of the money. He also gets Forrest invested in Apple just as the company is starting out, which (aside from Starbucks and Google) is probably the number-one stock you should definitely invest in if you ever happen to time travel back to the 1980s.
    • So, yeah, they make a LOT of money.
    • But, Forrest has learned from his momma that a person only needs so much money on which to live, so he gives a bunch of his money to the church and hospital in Bubba's community and to Bubba's poor family, which basically makes them millionaires overnight.
    • Now, Forrest cuts the Greenbow grass for free. But, at nighttime, he always thinks of Jenny and wonders where she is.
    • One day, Forrest is cutting the grass on his own lawn when Jenny shows up and walks toward his house. Forrest runs to greet her, and she hugs him tightly.
    • Jenny stays with Forrest for a while, but she spends almost all of her time sleeping. It seems to Forrest as if she hasn't slept in years, and honestly, that sounds about right based on what we've seen of her life.
    • Forrest and Jenny go for a walk when Jenny is feeling better, and they stroll past Jenny's old house, which is crumbling into the ground. Jenny stares at it for a while before throwing rocks at it and collapsing in tears.
    • After that, she and Forrest live happily together for a while. He brings her flowers every day, and she gives him a pair of sneakers to keep his feet comfortable. She even shows him how to dance. Forrest thinks of it as the happiest time in his life.
    • Finally, Forrest asks Jenny if she'll marry him. No, she says, she doesn't want to marry him.
    • Forrest tells her that he might not be a smart man, but he knows what love is and he wants to know why Jenny doesn't love him.
    • Late one night, Jenny sneaks into Forrest's bed and tells him she loves him. They have sex, and then Jenny sneaks out and into a taxi. But before she goes, she leaves behind Forrest's Medal of Honor.
    • All Forrest can do afterward is listen to the silence of his big house.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • With Jenny gone, Forrest is at loose ends. He starts running and doesn't stop.
    • He runs across his town, then his county, and then across Alabama and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Then, he turns and runs back the other way until he hits the Atlantic.
    • Eventually, people hear about what he's doing and become inspired by him. But, they want to know why Forrest is running, and the uninteresting answer is that he just feels like it.
    • People even start joining Forrest in large groups on his runs and asking him for advice as if he's some sort of life coach, and Forrest ends up inadvertently giving out some great ideas.
    • After three years, two months, 14 days, and 16 hours, Forrest stops running for no particular reason.
    • He's feeling tired, and he's going to head home.
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • While footage of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan plays in the background, Forrest gets a letter from Jenny asking him to come to Savannah, Georgia, to visit her on Henry Street. She's thought about him after seeing him running on TV.
    • Why, that's right nearby, says the woman next to Forrest on the bench. And off Forrest runs.
    • Jenny apologizes to Forrest for taking him for granted, just as a woman comes by and drops off a young boy. Jenny is a mom! And, guess what? Forrest is a dad!
    • Jenny must have gotten pregnant after she and Forrest slept together in his house three years ago.
    • Forrest kind of freaks when he hears the boy is his. His first question is whether the boy is smart, and Jenny tells him their son is one of the smartest kids in his class.
    • Forrest goes into the next room and sits next to the boy. Together, they watch Sesame Street.
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    • At the park one day, Jenny tells Forrest that she's sick with some kind of virus that the doctors don't understand and can't fix.
    • Based on the fact that this is taking place in the '80s and it's a virus doctors don't understand and that Jenny has probably not been practicing safe sex or hygienic needle usage, we can reasonably guess that Jenny has AIDS.
    • Forrest says he'll take care of Jenny, and Jenny ask him to marry her back in Greenbow, Alabama.
    • Guess who shows up at the wedding with a fancy new pair of metal legs? That's right, it's Lt. Dan, and he's there with his fiancée, Susan. It looks like things have worked out really well for Lt. Dan.
    • One day, Forrest brings breakfast in bed to Jenny, who looks like she's getting worse. She asks Forrest if he was scared in Vietnam. He just tells her that sometimes it was nice when the stars came out. Then, he thinks of all of the times he looked at the sky and thought of Jenny.
    • Jenny dies on a Saturday morning, and Forrest stands at her grave, finishing his story. He has her old house bulldozed because she hated it so much.
    • Forrest tells Jenny's grave that their son is doing just fine and that he's taking good care of him.
    • Forrest Jr. has written a letter for his mom, but he doesn't want his dad to read it. Forrest just leaves the letter at Jenny's grave.
    • Forrest says he's not sure if each person has a destiny or if they're just floating around randomly (like that feather). Maybe it's both at the same time?
    • He cries and tells Jenny that he misses her.
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    • Forrest waits for the bus with his son and sees that he's reading Curious George. Before the kid boards the bus, Forrest tells his son he loves him, and his son says he loves him, too.
    • On the steps of the bus, little Forrest introduces himself to the bus driver just like Forrest Sr. did many years before.
    • The bus drives away, leaving Forrest by himself. He sits on the side of the road. The camera pans down to his feet, where a white feather blows up into the wind and flies away.