Forrest Gump Essay

Published: 2020-02-19 19:42:25
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Category: Forrest Gump

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The movie Forrest Gump features Tom Hanks in one of his best roles in his life as a not-so-smart small-town guy who had small dreams yet contributed much to the shaping of American history in the little ways that he could. Forrest, the films protagonist, is the quintessential example of cooperation in evolutionary psychology. In the discourse of evolution, many scientists have insisted how indispensable cooperation was in the survival of the homo sapiens and the extinction of its ancestors. According to Augustin Fuentes of University of Notre Dame, human beings cooperated with each other to avoid being by larger animals, such as big cats.

More so, there has been pieces of evidence that concretely show how humans shared information as to the location of stone tools kilometers away, most of which are impossible to find had humans been on their own. Another important point in the cooperation theory is the concept of the in-group and out-group. Human beings, in pursuit of their survival, establish alliances and groupings from which they may derive maximum benefit and determine survival. While prima facie, social behavior insofar as cooperation may only be due to the need to belong, among others, but these are ultimately rooted in natural selection and adaptation.

On the other hand, subsumed under the theory of cooperation is the reciprocity principle between cooperators and defectors. In this principle, if a person gives beneficial help directed to another and the latter gives back such help given to the former, a continued mutual cooperative relationship exists. However, if the latter does otherwise, the former may cease giving beneficial help to the latter and choose some other person. In many instances, Forrest should how deeply he cooperated with his fellow beings on the film.

Despite his not-so-smart understanding of things, he willingly let himself contribute in the development of other characters in the movie. One example is his relationship with Bubba, his African-American comrade in Vietnam. Despite the patent racial prejudice prevalent in American society in those days, Forrest Gump made Bubba his best friend and even opened a shrimp-catching business in his name. Such a relationship is very unusual because white Americans in the southern states do not necessarily engage intimately with African-Americans in those times.

Yet, Forrest Gump saved Bubba in Vietnam and unflinchingly stood out for his African-American friend until the end. In the context of evolutionary psychology, such cooperation with an outcast as himself is imperative for his survival in Vietnam, especially as he has always been tagged as a retard by much of the army regiment to which they were assigned. As those who are weak do not have the opportunity to be aggressive in their environment, there is no other logical consequence but to huddle up with fellow weaklings and establish a formidable front in the sea of aggressive machismo in their regiment.

Also, it must be remembered that, ultimately, even weaker species have an innate instinct to dominate despite their natural inherited weaknesses because the primary consideration has always been survival and propagation. Had Forrest not cooperated with Bubba, he might not have adapted in the tense situation that was Vietnam and eventually failed in decisively determining his survival and fate as a person. On the other hand, Jenny was an example of a similar weakling who had to cooperate for her survival.

From her childhood, she was a submissive and pliant lady. While becoming a hippie and a drug addict were to the utter consternation of Forrest, all of these were completely necessary for her support and subsistence during the period that she left Alabama and fended for herself. Without a steady education background, Jenny was clearly on her way to self-destruction if she did not choose her decadent path. Notwithstanding her hippie moments, it must be remembered that she also joined the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations.

Her behavior in canoodling with political activism was consistent with the cooperation theory as well, especially as the stereotype of many peace activists are those who generally come from societys underclass. As such, allying ones weak self with other lesser mortals is the most logical thing to do to ensure survival in the long-term. With Jennys relationship with Forrest, the principle of reciprocity was clearly seen, because when Forrest was not receiving the substantial help that was due from Jenny, he walked out of their house to show his frustration.

One important character in the movie was Lt. Dan, the commander of Forrest and Bubba in their army regiment in Vietnam. He symbolizes the quintessential stereotype of a military man who would never admit of any fault or weakness despite every instance of its existence in the person. He demonstrated such status presentation by projecting a tough-guy image to Forrest even if he were already a cripple with no legs and no army distinction to boot.

However, it must be noted that despite his patent aggressive qualities in pursuit of survival, Lt. Dan was also forced to cooperate with Forrest when he was already a cripple. Joining Forrest in his shrimp business under the latters leadership may be interpreted as an implicit surrender of Lt. Dans aggressive behavior in favor of cooperation. His aggressive nature has been suppressed by evolutions selecting agent society, as the tables have turned against him already when he lost his legs and became a crippled war veteran.

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