What's Eating Gilbert Grape is an engaging film that teaches the audience valuable lessons about life. It educates the viewer about accepting people for who they are even if they look like a "beached whale". Symbols play a major role in unveiling the aspects of life. Water is an aspect which illustrates emotion. Another manner of teaching the audience about life is Gilbert's persistent question in the back of his mind which Becky helps to draw out when she asks him "What do you want". A technique the director, Lasse Hallstrom uses is the film and camera techniques. The director portrays life as a journey, the audience knows this through the opening and closing scenes. These techniques, themes and symbols along with the characters help to educate the audience about the meaning of life without the melodramatics of Hollywood movies by breaking the stereotypes of beauty and the 'perfect', consumerist world.
Gilbert is a character who refuses who believe his mum is really his mum, he refuses to accept who she is. The audience can understand this when Gilbert is showing some local children his mother through the window and therefore is exploiting her. When Gilbert first shows Becky his house it is only from a distance and won't let her meet his mother:
"Did you ever see a beached whale on television? ... that's my mum ... the girth inside of what's inside of it."
The audience knows Gilbert says this because he is embarrassed about his mum and doesn't want Becky to see her. Bonnie is overweight and has never left the house. With this information, the viewer can put themselves in Gilbert's shoes and understand that if they were in Gilbert's shoes they would also be ashamed of her and would be happy to pretend that she was a freak show to take away the element of closeness to her. In the scene when Bonnie leaves the house for the first time in years, a cr...