Books and Movies Reviews

Born on the Fourth of July

From Mickey Mouse to Michael Jordan, America’s media has continually focused itself on the concept of hero worship. Since the formation of icons in our culture began, popular movies, like Forrest Gump, have been built upon the ideals of an American Hero. In that movie, Forrest Gump is the unrealistic ideology of the American Hero: one who is flawless, selfless, without struggle, and a winner.In “Born on the Fourth of July,” Oliver Stone critiques this kind of hero worship within American Culture by representing Ron Kovic as a Vietnam veteran, with imperfect traits, who defies his family’s expectations to become a hero leading the anti-war movement.
In the beginning, Ron Kovic’s mother has a dream that he was “speaking to a large crowd…and saying great things.” She teaches him throughout his childhood to be a winner, and implements this winning mentality into Ron’s everyday life. She drives him to be the best at whatever he does such as wrestling. Oliver Stone uses the mother to voice the feelings and attitude of mainstream America during those times, thus, driving Ron to fulfill these expectations.
This winning mentality and drive to be a hero are evident when the Marine recruiters speak at Massapequa High School. The two men carry a presence and look of Ron’s mental image of a winner. Oliver Stone uses the marine’s speech to play on the winner’s mentality when they say, “Not everyone becomes a United States Marine. We want the best, and we will accept nothing but than the best. Because there is nothing finer than a United States Marine.” The mother is attached to this psychology in America of winning, and she puts pressure on Ron to join the army and be a winner. Ron is driven by the culture of anti-communism and his mother to win. Ultimately, these factors will influence his choice to join the military, and attempt to fulfill the expectations of his mother.
Ron volunteers to fight in the war in order to prove that he to…


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