Forrest Gump-Goodbye Jenny

 

 

Media portrays death and dying in a variety of different contexts.  Sometimes death is portrayed as a peaceful ending to a long and happy life.  Other times death may involve a loved one that lost their battle to cancer at an inconceivable age.  The latter, is the circumstance that we are presented with in the motion picture Forrest Gump.

            When Forest Gump was released I was a young child and had yet to experience the death of a loved one.  While there are multiple scenes in the movie that address death; I can remember relating to one scene in particular.  The scene where Forrest visits Jenny’s grave is a powerful scene regarding the death of loved one.  I think that this particular scene provides a helpful representation of the grieving process.  It seems as though it would be more effective at representing death than other scenes because it appeals to both children and adults.  It also helps us grasp the notion that death is constant and universal.

            I think this scene is also effective at displaying how society deals with death.  The fact that Forrest has Jenny buried in a meaningful place illustrates his love and compassion toward her.  Upon further thought it’s easy to realize that burying a loved one under the privacy of a tree allows Forrest to privately deal with his emotions regarding Jenny’s death.  This demonstrates a common ritual in our society that allows us to cope with loss.  We tend to deny the death of our loved ones on a daily basis.  We go about our routines and only grieve and deal with our emotions when we are ready to confront them by visiting a loved one’s grave or a place of significance.  Hence, burying our dead in a place where we feel comfortable grieving; a place where we tend to have privacy.    

            In conclusion, media has the ability to influence both our life and death.  It affects how we grasp the concepts regarding death.  In addition, it affects how we handle the situation.  Although we tend to be a death denying culture, media has a profound influence on us.

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3 thoughts on “Forrest Gump-Goodbye Jenny

  1. As you mentioned,I was a child watching Forrest Gump with the rest of the world. The scene captured above is extremely powerful, the death of Jenny projected a very real message. Forrest explains the routine things he does with his son that people take for granted daily. Every person can reflect in their life and it is the small tokens that truly make it everything we cherish and at the end of life hold on to. Forrest goes on to express his love and sorrows without Jenny in his families life.
    Death portrayed in this film was tragic due to cancer and exemplifies irreversability for young viewers and serves as a reminder for everyone. Our society neglects the topic of death although no one escapes it. Forrest over Jenny’s grave shows a very raw moment of him working through feelings. Not only him but his son, as he respects his son’s wishes to not read his letter to Mom. The media has an incredible influence on our society and how we handle it and I believe this movie is a positive portrayal.

  2. This ending scene always makes me cry. The emotion that Forrest portrays is so genuine you can’t help but feel sad for him. This is an accurate representation of the grieving process; going to your loved one’s grave and paying respect or even to just tell them about your day. I think a very powerful moment is when Forrest tries to figure out why death happens. He says his momma said it’s just a part of life, and Lt. Dan says it’s destiny. This is something we all think about from time to time. Was it the right time for this person to go? Are they in a better place now? We’ll never know the answer, but one thing for certain is that he will never forget about Jenny, just like none of us will ever forget our loved ones. He learns that life goes on, but a part of her will always be with him.

  3. Another thing that I think we tend to forget about is the scene when Forrest comes back to his mother’s house and finds her looking very frail and in bed. And when he asks her “Whats wrong Momma” her answer is both simple and profound, “I’m dying Forrest”. She then begins to explain to him the natural course of things. When he asks her why she is dying she replies “it’s my time”. I think this scene with his mother is one of the few accurate portrayals of death. She tells him that death is just another part of life, that it is something that everyone must go through. Although it is very clear that Forrest doesn’t enjoy revisiting these memories as he gives a brief summary of her death, then changes subjects with his classic line “thats all I have to say about that”.

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