Forrest Gump (novel)

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Jim Colyer
I wrote a summary of Winston Groom's "Forrest Gump" novel.

Forrest Gump introduces himself. He is an idiot with an IQ of 70. He is from Mobile, Alabama. He is named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Civil War General. He recounts being put in a school for retards. Jenny is the only girl who will not run from him, and he and Jenny go on an ill-fated date. Forrest is recruited for football because of his size and manages to get into the University of Alabama on a football scholarship. His and Jenny's paths cross again in college. Forrest's friend, Bubba, gives him a harmonica, and Forrest becomes a virtuoso. He plays in Jenny's band. It is explained that idiots have pockets of brilliance. But Forrest flunks out of school and is drafted. He goes to Fort Benning, Georgia, and on to Vietnam. This is the late 1960s. Forrest survives a gook attack and meets up with Bubba, who is also in Vietnam. Nothing is said in the book about Bubba being black. Forrest learns that Jenny quit school and is protesting the war. Forrest and Bubba agree to go into the shrimp business after they get out of the Army. Then Bubba is killed in combat. Forrest is shot in the ass and spends time in an Army hospital playing ping-pong. He is awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor. Lyndon Johnson pins it on him at the White House. Forrest admits the war is "a bunch of shi* He is chosen to play against the Chinese as a member of the U.S. Ping-Pong Team. While in China, he saves Chairman Mao from drowning. Forrest and Jenny hook up. She is in a heavy rock band. Sex becomes a regular thing. Forrest's odyssey takes him to NASA and into space. Groom's narrative is clearly out of control at this point. Indeed, Forrest confesses to seeing life as a chain of events with no underlying principle.

Winston Groom's novel is satire. It is meant to be funny while conveying basic truths. Forrest Gump's speech is colloquial, country slang. After all, he is a simple man. The book is written in the first person with Forrest telling his story. There is nothing in the book about life being like a box of chocolates. There is no Elvis and no Dick Cavett interview with John Lennon. The movie added them. Groom was born in 1944. He is a consummate baby boomer as is Forrest.

The spacecraft Forrest shares with a lady astronaut lands in the jungle. They are taken captive by cannibals and forced to plant cotton. Forrest is rescued although the lady astronaut chooses to remain with her "jigaboo" lover. Groom's language becomes bolder as his novel progresses. Forrest returns to the White House for an encounter with a paranoid Richard Nixon. He finds Jenny working for a tire company in Indianapolis. From there, he becomes a pro wrestler, wrestling under the name, "The Dunce." Jenny is turned off by it and leaves again. Jenny and Forrest are forever moving in and out of each other's lives. Forrest finds himself in Hollywood doing a remake of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon." Naturally, he is the creature. Raquel Welch is his co-star. When Forrest carries her in his arms "butt-naked," we sense that Groom is giving vent to his own fantasy..

Omega Vision
Originally posted by Jim Colyer
Forrest survives a gook attack
no expression

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