An Unexpected Hero Essay

1849 words - 7 pages

On June 6, 1943, in Greenbow, Alabama, an unexpected hero was born with a crooked spine, a low IQ and strong legs. Forrest Gump is not an expected conventional hero, however his accolades and accomplishments suggest otherwise. A hero is someone who inspires and instills good morals upon others by their courageous and outstanding acts. Forrest demonstrates these characteristics multiple times during his heroic journey. Whether it be diplomatic ping pong, fighting in the Vietnam War, becoming a local football legend at the University of Alabama or donating money to a deceased friend’s family, Forrest influenced many people with his unselfish and charitable acts. Joseph Campbell’s heroic monomyth consists of the following stages: taking place in an ordinary world, a call to adventure, refusal of said call, meeting with a mentor, crossing the threshold, trials and tribulations, an approach to the final challenge, an ordeal, a reward, the journey back, a purification or resurrection into the normal world and a return home with the capabilities to alter the world in which he lives. Many heroes follow this journey and Forrest Gump is no exception.
A hero is defined as: A person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities (Oxford). This definition can be altered to incorporate many perspectives of a ‘hero’. Two person’s idea of a hero may be similar, but the exact identity in their respective perspectives will vary. In my opinion all it takes is an average man laying a coat across a shivering child on the streets to make the leap from average to hero. Forrest Gump is a hero because he takes the extra step, exceeds everyone’s expectations of him, such as when he was young and got his leg brace stuck in a gutter grate and two curmudgeonly old men stared and talked behind his back. Later in the movie, when Forrest breaks free of his leg restraints, he runs past the two senile men and they are in great disbelief! A hero can be anyone, no special characteristics or traits are required, but the hero must have good intentions and morals. If being a hero was a job then the resume for the job would only consist of the quality of being morally righteous, regardless of extraneous traits.
Forrest Gump, despite his super-human achievements with his sub-par IQ, is just like all other human beings. Forrest’s mother is a mentor to Forrest because she is the only one around to raise him. His mother makes Forrest act courteous and explains to him that he is not different from anyone else. When Forrest opens up his suitcase in the first few minutes of the film, it reveals that he is like anyone else. Inside of the suitcase is an assortment of clothes, toothpaste, a ping pong paddle, the book “Curious George” and other ordinary personal items. A quality of being human is the capability of being unique, and that is what the ping pong paddle and the book convey. Forrest Gump was successful in many aspects of his...

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