Forrest Gump as a warrior


By Amos Yarom

One of the characteristics of a warrior is action, physical action. A warrior does not merely talk, but rather engages in activity. His capability to do so enables him to be more attentive and have a better sense of reality.

Western culture encourages us to behave uniformly. Conduct in our society is a certain way of speaking, moving and relating that is not necessarily natural and independent. Maybe the reason for this standardization is creating a convenient social system, but in this manner, Western culture distances us from reality.

Doing, with the body in particular, brings the warrior back to other aspects of the real world, enabling him to penetrate through the existent social web of beliefs.

Forrest Gump is a simple minded man, who is unaware of the patterns of Western culture. This may be the reason he is able to act. In this sense, Forrest Gump is a warrior.

Examples of Forrest Gump taking action are apparent throughout the film. When a comrade from his unit is injured in Vietnam and he runs to help him, he does not pause to think of what he has to do, nor does he care about what would be more appropriate. In his search for Bubba, he feels the danger of being killed, but the understanding and acting of what must be actively done is clear and obvious.

This knowledge is obvious to us all; however we do not always think honestly enough to enable us to take action, we use many excuses to not do.

In his search, Forrest comes across other injured men; this is not the friend he is looking for. However, he also understands: what needs to be done is to get them to safety, and that’s what he does.

Later on in the movie, in his next chapter in life, Forrest Gump is a fisherman. For a regular person, moving to a new place, buying a fishing boat, becoming a fisherman and all that it entails, is a complex project that requires a long thinking process. Forrest teaches us that it is not necessarily so – all you have to do is buy a boat and go out to sea. Get up and do something. The skills will come from doing.

The most apparent example for Forrest’s taking action is running. His need to run arises from the confusion that prevails in his life – his mother dies and the woman he loves mysteriously disappears. Forrest understands, subconsciously, that the solution is through his legs, through running, through doing with the body. Running enables him to cope with the difficulties in his life and to understand them.

Intense physical action is unique. It enables us to understand our transience. The difficulty of breathing during intense efforts, the muscle pain and the overall tiredness remind us we are mortal. This understanding is a key to grasping some simple facts of reality around us. This is one of the essences warrior needs – a clear view of the things that happen around him.