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Disability Representation in “Forrest Gump” Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Mar 24th, 2022

This is a term that was once used to describe someone who learnt and developed slowly. It is a negative word that hurt many people. Instead, people use “intellectual disability” or “developmental delay”. Mental retardation has various categories; mild mental retardation, moderate mental retardation, severe mental retardation, and profound mental retardation. Mental retardation has many causes. The following are the causes: low IQ scores, genetic complications, childhood illness and injuries.

The media portray disabled people as the same with others. It also portrays people who succeed with disabilities while others live with them. The media make people feel better about the condition of this disabled people without having to accommodate them. Media improves people’s understanding of the disabilities.

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is a man who has low brain activity but he has devoted intention. He struggles throughout his childhood. He has one and only friend whose name is Jenny. He has a mother who teaches him the ways of life. She then leaves him to choose his destiny. She believes that her son has the same opportunities as anyone else and nothing can hold him back.

Forrest Gump chooses to join the army for service in Vietnam. This is where makes new friends by the names Dan and Bubba. He wins awards and starts a ping pong craze. Forrest creates a famous shrimp fishing fleet and inspires people to jog. He writes bumper stickers and songs.

He also meets the president several times. Despite all these, everything is irrelevant to him since he can only think about his childhood best friend-Jenny. At long last, he wants to prove to everyone that anyone can love anybody. A low IQ man gives his life’s story to people waiting in a bus station. A man with low intelligence has accomplished great things, which nobody could imagine is possible.
“Forrest Gump” is a story of a man who rose above his challenges and proved that ability is less significant than courage, love, and determination.

This story covers the life of Forrest Gump and his meeting with the love of his life Jenny. Also, the film covers his accidental experiences with some of the most famous people and events in America including the meeting with Elvis Presley. He becomes a representative of the baby boomer generation having walked through life blindly.

Ways in which Forrest Gump was portrayed

The portraying of Forrest Gump is either in a positive or negative light. He has limited IQ and at the same time seems to have unlimited love and devotion for the love of his life Jenny (Robin Wright).

Gump’s color-blindness makes him involve himself with all black church, showing obedience to his loving mother and to the authorities around him. Gump’s film is off children due to the fallen world around him. Forrest did not have many friends. For example, during his first day in school, he could not board the school bus since no one could allow him sit next to him.

Depiction of intellectual disabilities

People with intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities are not able to give narrative about them. Many people do not know the meaning of intellectual disabilities. Therefore, it all depends with how this condition is culturally accepted and how it is known medically.

Name given to Forrest in the Movie

Children in school call him “stupid” and throw stones at Gump. His sweetheart Jenny tells him to run away. He miraculously breaks off his braces and runs extremely fast as if he did not have them previously. This name “stupid” brings about his meeting with many celebrates. For example, Elvis Presley comes to see him in his house while the president honours him with a medal.

Better understanding of mental retardation

People would get a better understanding of mental retardation in some cases like when Forrest becomes a celebrant and receives a medal of honour in all American football.

Many people cannot have a better understanding of mental retardation. They believe that mental retarded people do not have any ability to do anything. Others despise these people. They do not accept the in their families and look at them as a burden to them. Most of these retarded people end up begging throughout their lives. This is because they lack financial support from their families (Zigler 202).

The biggest advocates in the film

Forrest’s mother is an advocate who believes that her son is capable of doing what other people can. She tells her son that nothing can hold him back. Also, Jenny helps him by keeping him company to and from school. She helps him stop feeling out of place.

She loves him while others despise him although she then realises that she does not deserve his love. Also, the president who honours him with a medal is a leading advocate. He motivates him through awards. Through doing this, he makes him feel recognised in the society just like any other person.

Works Cited

Zigler, Edward, and Robert M. Hodapp. Understanding mental retardation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Print.

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"Disability Representation in "Forrest Gump"." IvyPanda, 24 Mar. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/mental-retardation/.

1. IvyPanda. "Disability Representation in "Forrest Gump"." March 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-retardation/.


IvyPanda. "Disability Representation in "Forrest Gump"." March 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-retardation/.


IvyPanda. 2022. "Disability Representation in "Forrest Gump"." March 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-retardation/.


IvyPanda. (2022) 'Disability Representation in "Forrest Gump"'. 24 March.

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