jenny a character evaluation essay

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This conventional paper is a two-part personality examination of Jenny’s character inside the movie Forrest Gump.Jenny is the business lead character’s child years friend who also, as a child, is sexually and physically abused by her own dad and, being a young adult, gets into medicine addiction and attempts suicide, and eventually succumbs to an early on death, leaving behind Forrest and the only kid.

Section I looks at Jenny from the points of view of Social Intellectual and Psychodynamic theories. Section II is an in-depth analysis of Jenny’s individuality using Sociable Cognitive Theory.


Section I: Character Character Matrix

Theory Major Pieces
Structure Process Growth and Development Psychopathology Change

Interpersonal Cognitive Theory

Jenny has a ability in performing but provides poor self-perception, low self-efficacy and does not have goals.

Jenny lacks self-regulation.

Jenny provides a mal-adaptive personality which is a reaction to her low self-efficacy. The girl could have learned her anti-social or maladaptive behavior (drug use, being associated with anti-social peers, and suicidal inclinations, among others) through remark from designs as well as through direct knowledge.

Your woman was raised by an abusive dad, she has observed aggression (she was present when Forrest was bullied by the children at school) and, as being a grown-up, recently been a direct recipient of an aggressive behavior (she was hit in the face by her boyfriend in the Blank Panther party).

Jenny’s maladaptive actions are a result of unable to start learning ” she has seen and straight experienced limited or sick models (his father wonderful peers) ” and managed this kind of learning through reinforcement. She seems to have a anxiety in relationship, that’s why the girl keeps operating from Forrest who really loves her and whom the lady professes to love.

Jenny shows an amazingly altered behavior toward the finish of the motion picture ” the effect of her acquiring new thought patterns and behavior, and improved self-efficacy.

Psychodynamic Theory Jenny has a weakened ego caused by an internal conflict. Jenny is affected by anxiety due to earlier trauma (her upsetting experience with her father, as well as her connection with witnessing traumatic events eventually Forrest). Jenny is living in a distorted actuality. She has discovered to repress her thoughts. She may also be living in denial of her traumatic past. Jenny’s maladaptive behavior from young adult life and into adulthood are mainly caused by her traumatic activities when she was a small girl (that is, the physical and sexual abuse she received from her father). Jenny exhibits a conflict of wishes and fears. This lady has carried above into adulthood her child years wishes and dreams. Jenny’s altered behavior toward the finish of the movie may be the reaction to undergoing cathartic hypnosis or free-association method.


Section II: Using Personality Theory


Theory Description and Rationale

Social cognitive theory is a personality theory suggested by Albert Bandura and Richard Walters in 1963. Taking their roots from the social learning theory suggested by Neal Miller and John Dollard in 1941, it views people while “neither powered by internal forces neither automatically formed and controlled by exterior stimuli¦ [but are] essential ingredients who physical exercise some influence over their own motivation and actions,  (Bandura, 1986, p. 18, 225). It views people as “self-organizing, proactive, self-reflecting and self-regulating rather than since reactive organisms shaped and shepherded by simply environmental causes or motivated by hidden inner urges,  and human operations as “the product of the dynamic interaction of personal, behavioral, and environmental influences,  (Fajares, 2002).

What’s very good about the idea is that it requires into account the individual’s philosophy and objectives. It focuses on that even though reinforcement and punishment affect motivation, they don’t directly cause behavior. Based on the theory, the beliefs that people have about themselves are critical in their respond to situations.

Folks are both products and producers of their own environments associated with their interpersonal systems, and, though they can be influenced by way of a environment, their very own interpretations of their situations tremendously shape their particular behavior. Humans, in the perspective of the theory, posses intricate capabilities that define what it is being human. They can symbolize and deduct symbolism from emblems, learn, self-regulate, and self-reflect, among other things, and these functions help them define their own character (Fajares, 2002).

According to the theory, modeling, which may be direct (from live models), symbolic (from books, movies, and television), or synthesized (combining the acts of different models), is at the core of social cognitive theory. Building can cause fresh behaviors, facilitate existing actions, change inhibitions, and excite emotions (Pervin, 1989).

Picking out the cultural cognitive theory to analyze the smoothness of Jenny in the motion picture, Forrest Gumpis mainly as a result of author’s notion of the theory as the most complete of all the persona theories, and therefore, the most fitted to analyze the character in question. The theory takes into mind factors that behavioral and cognitive ideas dismiss. This may also clearly clarify things the fact that other hypotheses cannot clarify, as it does not include as many limits as the other individuality theories.

Character Explanation

In the view of the social intellectual theory, Jenny is a talented woman, although has poor self-perception and low self-efficacy. This means that she most likely thinks of himself as incapable of coping with scenarios. Likewise, Jenny has poor self-regulation and is without goals. This means that she does not have a guidebook that will help her to establish her priorities, and is also more likely incapable of regulating her own behavior. Having immediately experienced physical and sexual abuse by her father as a child, and having occupied an environment that tolerates maladaptive behavior as a young adult, Jenny at some point exhibited maladaptive behavior their self as a result of the interplay of her environment and her poor self-perception, self-efficacy and self-regulation. Also, it is a result of her dysfunctional self-conception and targets.

Towards the end of the film, we see an altered Jenny. She is older in appearance in addition to the way the lady carries herself. She is demonstrated performing a typical job (a waitress) and finds it much easier to talk to Forrest about why she retains running faraway from him. As seen by of the social cognitive theory, this improvement in her behavior is a direct result an improved self-efficacy and the acquisition of new believed pattern and behavior.

As seen by of the psychodynamic theory, Jenny may be described as one who includes a weakened ego due to her internal conflicts, which is brought about by her traumatic experiences inside the hands of her dad when she was a child. She has carried into adulthood the recollections of the traumatic experiences of her childhood, albeit in a repressed method.

She might not be conscious of the underlying problems in her personality, however it is proven in the way she keeps working away from Forrest whom states she enjoys, and as described by her involvements with drugs and her having suicidal traits, among others. The altered Jenny that we find in the video may have been a result of undergoing cathartic hypnosis or free-association approach. She would have finally discovered and settled her interior conflicts and place free her repressed recollections.

Persona analysis



The character of Jenny inside the movie includes a talent in singing. Actually her desire is to be a professional musician. As a young kid, Jenny showed capability to relate with another person over a personal level; she and Forrest taught each other some tricks. In addition, she showed the ability to encourage other folks to get over their concerns; she urged Forrest to climb forest, shouting, “Come on Forrest, you can do this!  from the tree best.

However , at the same time a kid, she already appeared to have escapist tendencies: she actually is seen running away from her father, and praying to God: “Dear God, cause me to feel a parrot, so I can operate far, far from here (Tishe, Finerman, & Zemeckis, 1994). In addition, she urges Forrest to run away and run fast whenever the lady sees her friend staying bullied. Your woman shouts: “Run Forrest, work!  Years later, when ever Forrest was assigned to Vietnam, she’d advise him not to try to be fearless but to try to escape from problems, fast.

While her pal’s Forrest’s operates are in the literal sense, Jenny’s is definitely both in the literal and the radical senses. The girl did a whole lot of operating, but not from trouble, nevertheless towards that, and away from the person she loves ” Forrest.

Looked at from the composition of her personality through the lens of social intellectual theory, Jenny appears to include poor self-perception, as manifested when, since an answer to Forrest’s question why she wouldn’tt marry him, she says it truly is Forrest who not want to marry her (implying that Forrest justifies someone better than her) and, again, when ever she provides Forrest her being screwed as the reason for her working away from him. She tells him when ever she described for the first time how come she retained going out of his sight: “I was merely messed up (Tishe, Finerman, & Zemeckis, 1994).

Jenny likewise has a poor self-efficacy. According to Bandura (1986) in Pajares (2002), home efficacy may be the perceived capability to cope with specific situations. It’s the people’s “judgments of their capacities to organize and execute courses of action necessary to attain specified types of performances.  Having a poor self-efficacy impeded Jenny via achieving her dream of to become famous singer because self-efficacy is the incredibly basis of inspiration.

People with poor efficacy tend to avoid actions that they see to be further than their functions, may not set much hard work to achieve their dreams, may not persist when there are hurdles, may include negative thought patterns whilst performing the duties needed to be completed achieve all their dreams and could have bad emotional reactions while expecting an event, or perhaps in the middle doing a task. Therefore, she usually finds herself wanting to take flight but could not.

Finally, even though Jenny had dreams of a fantastic future, the girl did not have goals. According to the social cognitive theory, goals are the ones that “guide us in establishing priorities among rewards and in selecting among situations that enable all of us to go beyond momentary impacts and to plan our behavior over prolonged period of time,  (Pervin, 1989, p. 338). Jenny did not establish her priorities and overcome unhealthy influences in her life and to have an organized habit over a period of period. Hence, as attending a great all-girl university, she has been involved in maladaptive behavior, including getting into medications, being with poor crowds, having suicidal traits, as well as having relationship terror, among others.


As a young kid, Jenny had been encountered with and straight experienced aggressive behavior from his father, and from the bullies who mistreated Forrest in her occurrence. And while attending an all-girl school, she might have got negative impacts from peers, and these types of negative influences may have been approved in her new environment. Having been brought to an environment that gave confident rewards to bad behavior through acceptance, Jenny eventually proved doing the modeled behavior.

But more than just having been added too an environment that accepts unfavorable behavior, the more important thing that may have written for Jenny’s maladaptive behavior is her lack of to be able to self-regulate. Self-regulation involves could be ability to control their habit rather than mechanically reacting to external impact on (Pervin, 1989). If Jenny was able to self-regulate, meaning, the lady was able to process the impact on modeled to her such that the girl was able to assign which behavior was socially acceptable, and which behavior was not, your woman could have prevented herself by succumbing towards the negative impacts modeled to her.

According to the social cognitive theory, behavior is managed by expectations or predicted consequences. Persons learn to set appropriate goals for themselves, and reward themselves with self-praise, when they are capable of model the behaviour and with guilt if they fail to. Additionally, behavior is not really exclusively regulated by external forces; we have a process of self-reinforcement through which people reward themselves for attaining the standards they set for themselves (Pervin, 1989). Jenny, who not have desired goals in the first place, as stated in the structure section of this paper, as well does not seem to be capable of self-regulating.

Growth and Development

As a result of her low self-efficacy, Jenny has evolved a maladaptive personality which she discovered through remark from versions as well as through direct knowledge, having been raised by a actually and sexually abusive father, and having witnessed and directly knowledgeable aggression beyond the home; the girl was present when Forrest was bullied by the youngsters at university and, like a grown-up, recently been hit in the face by her boyfriend during an argument within a Blank Panther party.

Jenny seems never to have become an aggressive person, but she developed maladaptive behavior. Her aversive experience drove her to use medicines, develop phobia of marriage, and to strive or consider suicide.


Jenny’s maladaptive behavior is a consequence of dysfunctional learning “she provides observed and directly experienced inadequate or perhaps sick versions (his father and his peers) and taken care of this kind of learning through reinforcement. Her exposure to and immediate experience of not enough models may well have ended in dysfunctional expectations and self-perceptions. Her running away from Forrest who enjoys her and whom your woman professes to love may be indicative of a relationship terror. It may be which she is informed of her painful past which the girl might be aiming to run away coming from whenever she actually is with Forrest. Or maybe this lady has developed anxiety about pain ” fear of getting ridiculed the moment with Forrest perhaps, or fear of the ghost of her agonizing past.

In line with the social cognitive theory, unable to start expectations and self ideas have an excellent role in the learning of overt behavior, such that persons learn, erroneously, to expect agonizing things to follow some events or to relate pain with an event (Pervin, 1986). In Jenny’s case, her making a relationship phobia (with Forrest) may be due to associating soreness with backed by Forrest, or perhaps expecting soreness to happen when you are with Forrest for a long period of the time. Her incessant impulse to be away from Forrest after quick encounters with him may be a protective behavior to escape the pain she desires to experience or perhaps painful incidents she wants to happen the moment she is with Forrest.


Toward the end of the movie, we see a new Jenny. Your woman no longer shows maladaptive behavior, no longer operates away from Forrest, and is now able to concede her feelings.

In the watch of cultural cognitive theory, change in habit happens when there is alteration in the level of and strength in self-efficacy. While the level of self-efficacy increases, someone’s behavior tends to change toward positive habit (Pervin, 1989).

At some point in her lifestyle (while Forrest was operating across America), Jenny must have had obtained new believed patterns and behavior, and improved self-efficacy. This enhancements made on Jenny might have been brought about partly by growth and her becoming a mother, but mostly by having fresh influences to model by. During that amount of time in her your life when alter started to develop, she would have met fresh friends who also modeled with her good habit, in an environment that welcomes that sort of behavior. Your woman might have got systematic desensitization of her phobia; thus, in the end she’s not only capable of go back to the man she enjoys and with whom this wounderful woman has a child, yet also question him to marry her.

Internal and External Factors

Jenny’s character is both equally a product of internal and external elements. Among the external factors that greatly affected her personality include her father plus the abuses he inflicted after her; her aunt who have took care of her when she was obtained from her father; her colleagues in school plus the people she came in connection with throughout her life; Forrest himself and the friendship they shared together since they were young children; as well as the events inside the society these people were born in to. Compared with Forrest, Jenny is somewhat more involved with the actions of the doj that designed their nation. The internal factors, on the other hand, include her thoughts about, emotions toward and perceptions with the people that she came in connection with and of the events that took place around her. Together, the external and internal elements have described the person that may be Jenny.


/strong>Overall, once seen from the perspective with the social learning theory, Jenny comes out as a individual who was not simply screwed up by environment yet also by her inability to method her conditions in a manner that could have enabled her to dominate over the unhappy events in her existence.

Jenny’s greatest achievements is that she eventually prevailed over her maladaptive habit toward the finish of the video. This modify, from the point of view of social cognitive theory, is definitely not not possible. All the girl needed is usually someone to version from ” someone who has acquired similar instances like hers, but is behaving in different ways. She must have had at least one particular model.



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