Symbolism

Feather:
Was a main object that linked through with many scenes through the movie.  Jenny was abused by her father, so she would pray “Dear god make me a bird so I can fly far far away.”  There is a scene within the movie where her and forrest are doing this together in a corn field.  The start of the movie there is a feather flying through the screen and it lands on Forrest shoe and he puts the feather inside his briefcase (in remembrance of jenny we assume).  Also the feather floating in the air is in the closing scene as well.  

Feathers also have universal symbolic meanings, recognized by tribes and traditions worldwide. Feathers speak to us of flight, of freedom, of going beyond boundaries, of getting “above it all,” or of the need to let go and travel light.
<http://www.marilcrabtree.com/FEATHERS/introduction.htm&gt;

Tom Hanks interpreted the feather as: “Our destiny is only defined by how we deal with the chance elements to our life and that’s kind of the embodiment of the feather as it comes in. Here is this thing that can land anywhere and that it lands at your feet. It has theological implications that are really huge.”

Curious George:
This book was important within the film because it was the book that Forrest’s mother used to read to him when he was younger and then it was the book that Forrest would read to

his own son.The book is about a curious monkey that a man takes with him to live in the big city, similar to Forrest who is also very curious and is often out of place in situations.

The monkey within Curious George can be related to the ape from the novel who’s name was Sue.  Sue accidentally was put on the spacecraft with Forrest, but became a lifelong friend to Forrest within the book and ended up helping Forrest with his shrimp business.

Box of Chocolates:
“My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.’” – Forrest Gump in the Movie
A box of chocolates is a simple thing; the way Forrest sees the world.  Forrest’s life is a box of chocolates because he experiences so many things within his life, that are so different from each other, similar to the chocolates one finds within a chocolate box.

Originally in the novel the line was “being an idiot is no box of chocolates” but it is theorized that it was changed because it did not tie in with the theme of the movie, the line portrays more of a dark theme.  And for marketing decisions the line was changed.

Shrimp Business:
Symbolizes Forrest’s friendship with Bubba.  They talked a lot with the movie and the book about starting out their own Shrimp business.  Shrimp can represent a normal working class life, which is essentially what Forrest really wanted all along.  The shrimp business is so simple, and brought Forrest wealth that he got to share with his loved ones.

What is interesting is that Groom would speak about starting up a shrimp farming business with childhood best friend frequently, so the inspiration of Bubba and Forrest relationship is based off of Groom’s own relationships.

Ping Pong:
Symbolizes Forrest’s determination.  He continuously practiced while he was at the hospital in the war and became so skilled at ping pong he was asked to join the All-American pingpong team to travel to China.

‘We were the first Americans to have been there in like a million years.’ – Forrest Gump on his trip to China

Running:
Common theme throughout the novel and movie.

Forrest: Runs towards Jenny every time he sees her, runs from teenagers with their bikes, football, running away from the cannibal tribe(novel), running in the war to save lieutenant Dan (movie), running at the end of the movie to get his mind off Jenny.

At the start of the book he runs away from all of his problems, but at the end when he decides to finally stop running and confront his problems he walks home.

Jenny: Running away from her father in the cornfield.  Continuously runs away from Forrest within the book and movie, examples are her running from Forrest outside the strip club(movie), her running away from him at the movie theater (novel), at the end of the novel when she runs away from him for wrestling.

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