Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump Summary and Analysis of Part 4


Lieutenant Dan asks Forrest if he has found Jesus yet, and says that all the other physically disabled people at the VA are always talking about Jesus. He gets angry about the empty promises of Christianity, but Forrest insists, "I'm going to Heaven, Lieutenant Dan."

Dan and Forrest go to a bar on New Year's, where Forrest tells him that he has to buy a shrimping boat because he promised Bubba he would. "Now that he's dead, that means I gotta be the captain," Forrest says. Dan laughs dismissively at Forrest's plan and tells him that if he ever becomes a shrimp boat captain, he will be his first mate. Two prostitutes approach them and introduce themselves, Carla and Lenore. One of them points at the television broadcasting Times Square, and talks about how she loves New Year's, because it marks the chance to start over and have a second chance.

The scene shifts to Jenny at her house in California, examining her black eye in the mirror and moving out of a boyfriend's house in the middle of the night.

After the clock strikes midnight, Forrest and Dan go home with the two prostitutes. When Forrest pushes his date away, she gets annoyed and asks if he's stupid. Lieutenant Dan comes to Forrest's defense, angered by the intimation that Forrest is stupid, and kicks the two prostitutes out of his apartment. In the process, Dan falls out of his wheelchair, before climbing back up, breathing heavily.

Forrest visits the White House with the ping pong team, and this time, Nixon is in office. Nixon asks Forrest where he is staying, and then insists that Forrest go and stay at the Watergate hotel. That night, Forrest notices that someone is looking around with flashlights in a hotel room across the way, and calls the front desk to alert them.

When Forrest gets discharged from the Army, he goes home to Alabama. There, his mother welcomes him and tells him that someone offered $25,000 if he made a statement saying he liked using their ping pong paddle.

Forrest leaves soon enough to go keep his promise to Bubba, traveling to Bubba's family and telling them his plan. "Are you crazy or just plain stupid?" Bubba's mom asks, and Forrest goes to Bubba's grave. He speaks to Bubba and tells him that he is using the $25,000 to buy the shrimp boat.

The scene shifts to Forrest on his shrimping boat in the bayou, but shrimping is harder than he thought. When a man tells Forrest that it's bad luck to have a boat without a name, Forrest decides to call his shrimping boat "Jenny."

The scene shifts and we see Jenny at a disco club snorting cocaine off the table. We then see her injecting heroin and walking out onto the balcony of a hotel and climbing on top of the ledge to stare at the traffic beneath. She almost slips off, but catches herself and climbs down, collapsing into a chair in tears.

One day, while driving his boat through the harbor, Forrest sees Lieutenant Dan on a dock nearby, and waves gleefully at him. He jumps off the boat and swims to shore to him, leaving the boat completely un-captained. When he climbs up onto the dock, Lieutenant Dan pulls out a letter Forrest sent him about the shrimp boat and says he had to see for himself. Dan reminds Forrest that he said he would be his first mate, and they shake on it, just as the un-captained boat plows into a dock behind Forrest.

Forrest and Dan become shrimpers together, but don't have very much luck for a while. When Lieutenant Dan tells Forrest he ought to pray for shrimp, Forrest starts going to a black gospel church every Sunday to pray.

Later, in the middle of a hurricane, Dan rides on top of the mast and yells at the waves, while Forrest runs for safety on deck. The shrimping boat becomes the only boat to survive the hurricane, and because of the lack of competition, they become the most successful shrimping business in town.

The scene shifts to Forrest on the bus stop bench, telling two strangers that they became so successful that they bought 12 new boats, all called "Jenny," a big warehouse, and started the Bubba-Gump Shrimp company. The man on the bench laughs, believing that Forrest is lying, and walks away. The woman who is still there slides next to Forrest and he pulls a Fortune magazine out of his briefcase that features himself and Lieutenant Dan on the cover.

The scene shifts back to the past, and we see Lieutenant Dan and Forrest on the shrimp boat. Dan thanks Forrest for saving his life, then goes for a swim. Later, on a television on the deck of the boat, they watch a news story about the attempted assassination of President Ford. In the middle of the newscast, Forrest gets a call from shore that his mother is sick.

He rushes home to see his mother, who is in bed, getting visited by a doctor. She tells Forrest she's dying of cancer and that "death is just a part of life." She then tells him, "I was destined to be your mama." Forrest asks her what his destiny is, but she tells him that he has to figure it out for himself.

Forrest gets a job mowing the football field at the high school, and leaves Dan to take care of the business. Dan invests their money in the Apple Computer stock, which does very well, and sends Forrest checks in the mail. Forrest takes his money and gives some of it to the black gospel church he attends, some to the Bayou La Batre fishing hospital, and a share of the company to Bubba's mother.


Time and time again, Forrest endears himself to people in spite of his limitations. In this section of the film, he even wins over the frustrated Lieutenant Dan, who resents Forrest because he saved him in the forests of Vietnam. Dan feels that he was meant to die in the war, and now he is relegated to the pathetic existence of a veteran with a crippling disability. He is actively antagonistic towards Forrest when they are first reunited, but he eventually begins to understand Forrest's simple and altruistic view of things, and feels grateful for Forrest's undemanding and selfless offering of friendship.

Part of what connects Dan and Forrest is the fact that they both have experiences of marginality and disability. When they take two prostitutes home and one of them calls Forrest "stupid," Dan gets exceedingly angry and comes to Forrest's defense angrily. In voiceover, Forrest tells us, "He didn't want to be called crippled just like I didn't want to be called stupid." The two men, who seem to have nothing in common, are connected in their desire to be treated with respect by other people in the world, accepted for their difference.

In this section of the film, Forrest is loyal to Bubba's memory and uses $25,000 that he earns from endorsing a Chinese ping pong paddle to purchase a shrimping boat and start his business. Everyone along the way thinks he's crazy, but Forrest is determined to carry out Bubba's wishes after his death. His recurrent comeback to anyone who says that he is stupid—"Stupid is as stupid does"—serves not only as a defense against dissenters, but also a mantra that keeps him on track to do his best to start a shrimping business. Thus, we see that Forrest's ignorance is not only something that brings him luck, but also that allows him to act with dogged determination.

In spite of their early connection in childhood, Jenny and Forrest seem to be on inverse paths. The more amiably Forrest is able to weather the ups and downs of life, the more Jenny seems to falter and fall prey to people who want to bring her down. Like Forrest, she also rides the waves of history, through the 60s into the 70s, but falls prey to emptiness and hedonism, getting lost along the way. Much of Jenny's troubles seem to have to do with drug dependency and an attraction to abusive relationships, and her sad existence stands in tragic contrast to Forrest's ability to triumph in the face of adversity.

After Forrest's accidental success, he proves himself to be exceedingly altruistic. After his shrimping business becomes successful and he makes money from the Apple stocks that Dan invests in, Forrest donates to the gospel church and a fishing hospital, and sends money to Bubba's mother. In this way, he makes amends for the fact that he is named for the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, distributing his wealth to the black community in which he built Bubba-Gump Shrimp. In a montage depicting Forrest's altruism, we see Bubba's mother living in luxury, being served a meal by a white maid, a reversal of the more canonical image of a black woman working in a white woman's home. While Forrest does not seem to have a grasp of race relations, he manages to redistribute his wealth along racial lines after his immense success.