Pop quiz: aside from Jenny, what does Forrest want? If you heard crickets while trying to come up with an answer to that question, you're not alone. Forrest Gump might show its hero acquiring money, awards, and companies, but we never get the sense that any of it is what he wants. What he wants is to take sweet Jenny home to Greenbow, Alabama, and be BFFs forever. And, in the end, that's just what he gets.
Now, contrast that with Jenny. She has all kinds of dreams about growing up, becoming a singer, and getting far, far away from Alabama. Unfortunately for her, this movie isn't called Jenny Curran. In the end, her dreams have to die so Forrest can achieve his. (And, if you're thinking something sounds a little off about this, you're not alone in that, either.)
Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans
- What do you think Jenny really wants out of life? Is she happy at the end of the movie?
- Does Forrest really have any big dreams other than being with Jenny? If so, what are they?
- How does the meaning of Jenny's wish to become a bird change from childhood to adulthood? Is it a positive change? Why or why not?
- Does Forrest Gump seem to be suggesting that we shouldn't dream big, or is it just an unfortunate coincidence that Forrest ends up happy while Jenny ends up dead?
Chew on This
In Forrest Gump, dreaming gets you nowhere but dead.
Forrest Gump tells us that, even when your dreams don't come true, it's worth keeping hope alive.