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For this paper, the character selected for personality analysis is Forest Gump. The two theories that will find use in examining his personality are the big five-personality theory and the traits theory. For both theories, specific examples will be drawn from the movie and will be used in providing an in-depth analysis of Forests personality. The selected theories will help offer a better understanding of real human life and human behavior and interactions. The theories aim to test and determine a persons personal, moral, social character.
The first theory that will be used to analyze Forest Gumps personality is the traits theory. According to the theory, there are specific traits or characteristic patterns in behavior, and emotion that influence an individuals personality. Furthermore, this also influences an individuals behavior and reactions towards specific aspects of life (Jordan, 2011). The theory also proposes that such characteristic behavioral and emotional patterns are constant for a specific individual. This theory can easily be applied towards the analysis of Forest Gumps personality. This is mainly because from the film it is evident that Forest has a number of constant characteristics and traits throughout the plot of the film.
The first trait is that he is a determined individual. The film depicts Forest as a highly determined individual who becomes successful at a number of things. At first, his determination is seen during the Vietnam War where he helps save a large proportion of his platoon. His determination is evident when he Forest starts playing Ping-Pong, becoming famous for his skill. Joining the shrimping business and succeeding at it is also a show of his determination. Lastly, his ability to run across the country a number of times also proves that he is a highly determined character. The above analysis fits into the traits personality theory. This is attributable to the fact that Forests determination is continuous throughout the film.
The film also depicts Forest Gump as an honest character. After meeting his friend Bubba in the army, Forest makes a promise to join the shrimping business. Unfortunately, Bubba was killed in action and did not make it to the end of the war. Despite his death, Forest was honest enough to keep his promise. After receiving a $ 25,000 endorsement check from a Ping-Pong bat manufacturer, he buys a fishing boat and starts working (Groom & Escott, 2001). He is also shows his honesty when he gains publicity for running across the country. Forest is honest when he states that he has no particular reason for running. He is also honest to Jenny about his feelings towards her. He agrees to marry her and take care of Forest Jnr despite her unknown illness. At the end of the film, it is evident that Forest was honest and kept his promise to Jenny as he walked Forest Jnr to school.
Lastly, in the film, Forest shows that he compassionate and loving. This is clear during the Vietnam War where he sacrifices a lot to save his fellow platoon members. He also shows a lot of love and compassion for Bubba, his best friend in the army. This leads him towards entering the shrimping business as he had promised Bubba. Forest is also compassionate and loving towards Jenny despite the fact that she does not show her feelings towards him. He is also compassionate and loving towards Forest Jnr his son. Lastly, he shows compassion and love for Lt. Dan when he offers him a job in his new shrimping business. This is despite the fact that Lt. Dan still holds a grudge against Forest for saving him during the War.
Big five-personality theory:
The second theory is the big five-personality dimension model, which shows how the big five personality dimensions are present in every person though in different variations and levels. These five dimensions are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and intellect. These different dimensions are vital as they determine how a person relates to others, relate to oneself, and react to life around him. The big five model of personality will be used to get an insight to the character Gump form the movie Forest Gump. As the main character of the movie, Gump is featured in many conversations, interactions, and situations. Therefore, as a personality theorist, using the big five model of personality as well as applying ideas and insights from acquired knowledge will ensure an understanding on human nature (Mikulincer & American Psychological Association, 2015). The reason why each person is different from the other is through the variations in the level of the big five personality dimensions a person has. Forest Gumps story is one that describes a man going through life while tackling the challenges thrown at him.
Gump is a unique character. As depicted in the movie, Gump is not a smart man, with an IQ of 75. Therefore, his intellect level is very low. With a challenged childhood, Gump is still able to push through the obstacles and negativity. Gumps level of extraversion is normal. He is able to socialize with people around him. However, as a child, he only had one friend. This was due to his disabilities, which led to his bulling. This ordeal also reveals his level of emotional stability. His mother did a lot of encouraging while Gump was in his special shoes that were to help with his crooked back. His mothers support played an important role in his life. It preserved his calmness and tranquility through his trying childhood. We see this through the several times Gump recollects words his mother said to him throughout the movie. Gumps conscientiousness reveals his level of work ethic through the various activities he participated in such as playing Ping-Pong, cross-country running and running a successful business with his partner. Gump also depicts a high level of agreeableness through his acts during the Vietnam War by helping his fellow soldiers. The ability to balance all the big five personality dimensions shows that Gump was able to be at peace with the things that were happening to him and around him.
In conclusion, it is evident that the traits theory provides an excellent basis for analyzing Forest Gumps personality. It is clear from the analysis above that Forest is a determined, honest, compassionate, and loving character. These traits are constant throughout the movie and they greatly influence his behavior, life choices, and decisions. The big five-personality dimension model also reveals how human life is so similar yet different depending on the variances in the level of the big five personality dimensions. Gump was able to live a fulfilling life despite the several challenges and obstacles that befell him throughout his life.
Groom, W., & Escott, J. (2001). Forest Gump. Harlow, Essex, Eng: Pearson Education.
Jordan, M. E. (2011). Personality traits: Theory, testing and influences. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Mikulincer, M., & American Psychological Association. (2015). APA handbook of personality and social psychology: Vol. 4. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association.
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