Intertextual Study Of Flowers For Algernon & Forrest Gump

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Intertextuality refers to the interdependent ways in which texts stand concerning one another to produce meaning. It’s a method which constructs an interrelationship amongst texts’ and generates related understanding in separate works. Forrest Gump was realised in 1994, directed by Robert Zemeckis. It’s about a normal person who has good purposes with a high IQ. He spends his childhood in Alabama with his best friend Jenny and his Mum. Forrest Gump’s mum continuously teaches him the ways of life and leaves him to choose his destiny. Forrest Gump realises that he living but limited life. He started being a college football star, to fighting in the Vietnam War, becoming a ping-pong champion and captaining a shrimp boat. The valuable point he learns that with love, smartness is neither the most important thing in the world. Daniel Keyes the author of Flowers for Algernon was released in 1959. It’s about a 32-year-old mentally disabled man called Charlie Gordon, works as a floor sweeper and performs a very low level of tasks at a bakery. Charlie Gordon becomes selected to undertake a scientific experimental surgical technique in a laboratory to realise if it’s possible to increase his intelligence. Throughout there was a bond created between Charlie and Algernon because of the similarities with their experiment. In his journey of experimentations, Charlie discovers what it feels like to be smart and like everyone else. The themes that will be outlined and analysed in this essay include relationships, scientific experimentations and fitting in. 

Throughout Flowers, for Algernon and Forrest Gump the theme of relationships is examined. This is marked as Charlie Gordon and Forrest Gump improve personal relationships including additional characters in each text. Miss Kinnian, Charlie’s teacher, spent more time with Charlie and he started to develop feelings towards his teacher. In the book, it had been shown that Miss Kinnian could not have those sorts of emotions towards Charlie because he was just her student. “I got up the nerve today to ask Miss Kinnian to have dinner with me, at first she wasn’t sure it was right” (Keyes,1959) Charlie experienced that if he developed more knowledge, he would have a moreover good connection with Miss Kinnian. In the story it is shown that Miss Kinnian does have a connection with Charlie, she should not let it show. Same goes with Forrest Gump and Jenny, Forrest adored Jenny, ever since she accepted him on the elementary bus. “Me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots”. (Zemeckis,1994) through adolescence, college and early adulthood, in several scenes in the film, Forrest showed his love to Jenny whenever they has crossed paths. This was revealed when Forrest protected Jenny, when she was getting harassed on the stage, when following her passion. She does love Forrest but she always felt that her life is unpredictable and she didn’t want to include Forrest in it.

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The theme of scientific experimentation is contrastingly explored with both texts. Charlie received surgery on his brain to make himself smarter but Forrest didn’t need any requirements. Forrest wasn’t known as the smartest person but he wasn’t as mental challenges as Charlie was. Forrest had his metal braces that were the only medical procedure what was used. When Forrest was born his spine was crooked and was forced to get braces on his legs to help them straighten his back. Since, Charlie had his spine crooked he was required to learn and attempt normal tasks that everyone can do, plus learning how to read and write. In the film, Forrest didn’t take as long to develop these skills because he is not as mentally disabled as Charlie. Although Forrest could do all the things, he didn’t fully understand why he had these skills. When Forrest was a child he was treated as an outsider due to the experimentation of his leg braces.

The theme fitting in is present in Flowers for Algernon and Forrest Gump through the friendships of the main characters of each text. The friendships in which Charlie Gordon and Forrest Gump form to feel accepted in society due to their differences which refers to fitting in. In Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump met Bubba when they were in the Vietnam War. They both formed a trustworthy friendship, in which they were able to share their feelings and life setting goals. Bubba always mentioned about his dreams of being a shrimp boat caption. “Bubba was going to be a shrimping boat captain, but instead he died right there that river in Vietnam” (Zemeckis,1994). This relationship is very similar to the connection between Charlie and Algernon in the text. Algernon the mouse was the only subject that the experiment was undertaken on. As it showed improvements, this procedure was conducted on Charlie to be the nest test subject. In the beginning, Charlie didn’t like the mouse “I hate that mouse. He always beats me” (Keyes,1959). However, their relationship increases and became more meaningful to each other. In both texts their friendship goals allow Charlie Gordon and Forrest Gump to feel accepted to the community and to share their like time experiences. 

After exploring each text, they both were successful in achieving the themes. Even though had comparable concepts, they were still some areas where it was different. Throughout Flowers, for Algernon and Forrest Gump the two main characters, Charlie Gordon and Forrest Gump strengthened relationships in which it assisted them to feel engaged amongst other people, developed similar love matters and had a real friendship which they both were able to share their feeling. Both Flowers for Algernon and Forrest Gump are a very successful film and text. 


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  5. Goalcast. (2019). 27 Forrest Gump Quotes that Will Change your Outlook on Life. [online] Available at:


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