What did Jenny die from in Forrest Gump?

Curiosities, Movies
Mary Jane Rosenberg Mary Jane Rosenberg
What did Jenny die from in Forrest Gump?

Forrest Gump is a 1994 film that depicts the life of a sweet, but simple-minded man from Alabama. The film is based on the 1986 Winston Groom novel of the same name and the titular character is portrayed by Tom Hanks. Forrest Gump has received many positive reviews and acclaims, including 6 Oscars.

Its cultural and historical significance is great, as it is packed with many references, including:

  • Elvis Presley;
  • John Lennon;
  • JFK;
  • Apple Inc.;
  • The Ku Klux Klan;
  • The Black Panther Party;
  • The Hippie Movement;
  • The Vietnam War 1955-1975;
  • The Watergate Scandal;
  • The Smiley Face;
  • The Moon Landing;
  • etc.

WHO IS JENNY FROM FORREST GUMP?

Jenny is Forrest’s childhood friend and romantic interest. The two share an intimate relationship and support each other in difficult times. Forrest and Jenny are separated on many occasions during the movie. The final reunion is marked by Jenny introducing Forrest to their son and revealing to him that she is suffering from an unknown incurable virus. Their wedding is rather soon followed by her death.

What did Jenny die from in Forrest Gump?
What did Jenny die from in Forrest Gump?

What did Jenny die from in Forrest Gump?

If you are an avid fan of this classic and can watch it over and over again, you might have at some point asked yourself or your movie-loving friends: “What did Jenny die from in Forrest Gump?“. Many fans have asked this question since the release of the movie and speculated about the cause of her death, owing to the fact that the name of the virus was never specified.

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Fan Theories

The fans’ first guess was that Jenny died from AIDS. This speculation is backed by Jenny’s wild lifestyle. She had many sexual partners and shared needles while using drugs. AIDS is an obvious explanation, as she did live in the era of ‘free love’, and the start of the 1980s marks the AIDS outbreak in the world.

However, there are flaws in this theory. If Jenny had AIDS, how come she didn’t transmit the HIV virus to Forrest or their son. Jenny could have contracted the virus after giving birth to Forrest Gump Jr, but this is a long shot.

The Actual Cause of Jenny's Death
The Actual Cause of Jenny’s Death

The Actual Cause of Jenny’s Death

In Winston Groom’s 1995 sequel book, Gump and Co., the author was kind enough to illuminate us on this matter. It is clear from the sequel that Jenny had actually died from hepatitis C, which she contracted during drug abuse.

Hepatitis C can also be contracted via blood contact, and the movie’s setting in the 1980s explains why the doctors don’t seem to know the cure – the virus was unknown until 1989. It is unfortunate that there was no cure during Jenny’s lifetime and that she couldn’t spend more time with her family after having lived a mostly tragic life.

Still, some questions remain. After all, isn’t hepatitis C also transmittable? Luckily, the chances for hepatitis C transmission to the baby or the partner are much slimmer. Furthermore, it’s simply more enjoyable to believe that the hero and his son lived healthily ever after long cherishing the memory of beloved Jenny.

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