Forrest Gump Analysis

Does anyone have a breakdown of Forrest Gump?

If not, what is the OS Goal?


I have only vague recollections of specifics, but:

“Run, Forrest, run!” is his role as Protagonist.
His MC role is probably Mind.

But I can’t really gauge what he is doing as Protagonist in each episode.

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As I recall the OS was in Psychology, but it wasn’t complete, or the Change Influence Character comes AFTER the story…there’s something “broken”/propagandistic about it, but I don’t quite recall all of it.


According to this blog post on Narrative First, the primary issue with the structure of Forrest Gump was that the IC Jenny “changes her Resolve after she finds out she is going to die of AIDS. A more meaningful—and compelling narrative—would find her making that change before the diagnosis.”


If I run the movie by the Story Engine (Master), I put

for MC (Forrest): Steadfast, Stop, Be-er, Intuitive
for Plot Dynamics: Action, Either, Success, Good

For MC Throughline: Fixed Attitude, 'cause Forrest Gump, right? No attitude at all. So much so even the drill sergeant likes him.
MC Problem should be Conscience, because it is his only tool. If he needs to decide something, he can only follow the compass of his heart. (“Because I can’t think.” He so makes me admire him.)

That now gives us two remaining Storyforms because of no Story Limit. Just put Option lock, doesn’t matter here (there sure is no time lock though), and get “Changing One’s Nature” for the Story Goal.
The help text even calls it “Transforming one’s nature”. If the MC, already purely living out of his heart, is to transform, he has an only path towards spiritual fulfillment. Not that this is always fun though: Forrest cries when seeing his little son, and learning the kid is smart. He now accepts that he can never change his nature, which he always had hoped for. MC Concern: Innermost Desires.

The other ones are also pretty nice fits. IC Issue: Preconception. He says he can smell the enemy. But since his Critical flaw is “Approach”, he gets his leg shot off. Same with the thunderstorm. IC Unique Ability: Delay. Yeah, right. While brooding. IC Benchmark: Present. When we see Dan in the end, holding his wife and happily clanging his aluminum leg with his cane, we know he is a changed man. IC Concern is no longer The Future. He is in the now now.

What say you?

How would you illustrate the Four Throughlines?

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MC Throughline: Fixed Attitude, 'cause Forrest Gump, right? Even the drill sergeant likes him. But “no attitude at all” makes a grand total of one, thus: fixed.

OS: Manipulation, because everyone are hacking in on him in some way. Even his mother, if in the most understanding way: “‘Life is like a box a’ chocolates’, my mom always said. ‘Ya ne’er know what you’re gonna get.’” Maybe she doubts Forrest could ever learn life’s lessons by himself, so she teaches him her own.

IC: Situation, because as the movie is episodic, Forrest keeps running into Dan, meeting him always in the most interesting of situations. Like Viet Nam.

M/I: Activity, because their “situations” mostly result in them being active: Shooting, running, carrying, lying on stretcher, boating, sometimes into the dock, fishing, broking, partying…

I’m fairly certain the RS will also comprise Jenny, and I’m not sure I see their relationship as Activity. (Remember, haven’t seen it in a long time.)

Here are my questions: is Vietnam a Situation? Is Forrest Gump potentially in Psychology because he’s just Being?

The IC does seem like Situation though: loss of legs, needing status as “killed at war”, getting AIDS, owning a shrimp boat…

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The IC has to confront the MC in order to bring the story forward. But Jenny is always leaving him. She is nothing but dead ends to Forrest – and, by extension, the story. Except for the end, when she finally offers him a future. Too late though. No. Dan is the man.

Very much so. Talk to any veteran. Main Character is already a Be-er, so be-ing leads the story into the middle of nowhere and then a hundred miles north.

This would imply that if Forest somehow changed his “attitude” that all his problems would go away. Forest does not have a problematic mindset as evidenced in the film.

He does have a tendency to run when things get rough…

This would imply that Dan’s situations are problematic and influence Forest to reconsider his point-of-view…

This also doesn’t read correct given the film.

@MWollaeger is right, the most important relationship explored is the one between Forest and Jenny, though there are semblances of it in the friendship between Dan and Forest (a hand-off relationship, same thematics)

The Influence Character Throughline perspectives are handed-off from Dan to Jenny, but again, the story doesn’t work because the IC Resolve happens after the fact, so while it is fun and engaging and definitely heart-wrenching, the argument of the film falls flat. (propaganda)

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OP was only asking about the Storyform and its Illustrations. You’re talking Characteristics.

The Throughlines are foundational aspects of the Storyform. They illustrate the various inequities out-of-balance within the story. If you don’t describe them as processes, or methods of conflicts, then you’re just using bits and pieces of the storyform as Subject Matter - the MadLibs version of Dramatica as it were.

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I wrote down the throughlines for you further up… haven’t you seen?

Also: I just realized that I went straight to finding out the “Story Goal of Forrest Gump”, as was asked as the bare minimum by the OP. And I arrived at a satisfying answer whithout even looking at the characters. Guess I just learnt something about the theory again.

So that’s why they compare movies by their storylines in the courses. The characters are systemically irrelevant except for the MC’s most rudimentary properties.

Yes, I have. But you haven’t remotely made good arguments as to why the Throughlines are in those Domains.

If anything, you’ve projected notions of what veterans think onto your interpretation of the narrative dynamics at play.

And I have learnt something about you as well…

(That’s Over and Out.)

This sounds like you’re trying to force the idea of the Mentor onto the IC.

Um, wow.

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I thought, if you all have DSE, why don’t you just go ahead and set it up like I described? That’s what I expected to happen in this forum. Discussing on terms of the theory. Because only then can we discuss my solution, refine it, or nix it and come up with a better one altogether. But unfairly poking at the messenger instead of the message belongs into a different kind of forums, the ones I don’t ever want to know of. Because this friction just for frictions’s sake just makes me mad.

All the questions you asked above you could have nicely answered for yourself by setting up your Story Engine, and then looking at it. Because by just selecting two Elements that I was sure of, instead of going through Classes, Types and Variations first, the whole grid basically filled up by itself. And most of it fits. So I was reverse-engineering the storyform by means of Dramatica. Unorthodox? Sure, but what do I care? The software does not forbid it and, by extension, neither does the Theory.

The culprit of course lies with these very few Elements being chosen correctly. I might be wrong there. But then I expect a level argument as to how and why. And no emotionalizations. Leave that to facefook. This here is supposed to be applied science.

So, let’s make something useful out of this. Let’s explore it. What I propose:

  1. Everyone watch the movie in order to freshen their recollection.
  2. Then set up the Story Enigma in DSE. Characterization later.
  3. Then post your solution for the Storyform here.
  4. Then we’ll duke it out in here.

And we shall learn something new.

A storyform is an argument. When presenting the case for an argument, one must provide ample evidence to support a specific set of Storypoints.

If Forrest’s Main Character Throughline was in the Mind Domain, there would be examples of him resolving personal inequity through internalization. These instances would need to be problematic in nature, i.e., his “fixed attitude” would be creating conflict for him on a personal level.

Forrest’s approach to personal inequity is to externalize. This means his Main Character Throughline Domain must be in either Universe or Physics. His issues stem from either society’s isolation of him (Universe) or his need to run (Physics) to solve every problem.

Either way, his approach is shown to be “good” in that both Jenny and Lt. Dan change their Resolve against Forrest’s Steadfastness (a Steadfast/Good story).

Both Dan and Jenny suffer from familial abuse, most likely Psychological in nature, but an argument could be made for the Mind Domain. While Dan’s dysfunction stems from family values (you need to go to war to be a man), Jenny’s problems originate from a lack of family values. In both cases, it is their problematic way of thinking that influences and challenges Forrest to grow.

To nail down the two remaining Throughline perspective, one must juggle both the Objective Story and Relationship Story perspectives, and determine which one lands in Universe and which one falls in Mind.

It does appear as if Forrest’s Main Character Growth is one of Start, rather than Stop. An optimistic balance exists between the objective and subjective perspectives of that film, in that one leads the other forward in growth. This optimism, and Forrest’s penchant for allowing others to catch up with him (while running) manifests a vertical relationship between the Objective Story Domain and the Main Domain.

In light of the evidence above, that would place the Objective Story in Mind and the Relationship Story in Universe. Does that fit? Certainly, Jenny and Forrest’s love is problematic within contexts of the Past, Progress, Future, and Present. Jenny’s offering of the seat next to her when they first meet is also indicative of relationship growth sparked by the “situational” aspects of who sits next to who on this journey.

And Lt. Dan is Forrest’s commanding officer and eventually big brother/friend. Forrest’s rescue of Dan on the battlefield creates the problematic “situation” between them. In other words, Dan’s handicap is less of a personal point-of-conflict and more of an inter-personal frame of reference for conflict (you should have let me die out there/friends don’t leave friends to die).

Making the case for a solid storyform—for a solid argument—requires looking at all Four Throughlines at once while providing balanced examples of conflict from each perspective.


Ich verstehe, dass Englisch nicht dein first language ist, but nobody poked unfairly at you. All I did was ask follow up questions.

(600 Days of Duolingo, and that’s the best I can do.)

Then put all that into the Storyform, Master view, make a screenshot and post it here.
Don’t forget the Signpost tab.