Flowers For Algernon

Better Essays
Human Connection and Intelligence in Flowers for Algernon
Extended Essay English Category 1
Veronica Cisneros
Mrs. Mohel
Lamar Academy
Session: May 2017
Word Count 3509
Cisneros, 1
This essay explores the use of Daniel Keyes’s progress reports in his novel, Flowers for
Algernon. The author utilizes the style to convey the growing loneliness within Charlie Gordon, a man who undergoes a surgery that increases his intelligence. The range of literary devices that the author implements within his work include that of imagery, diction, symbolism, among others. These devices all combine in order to paint the picture of a man in the middle of realizations having to do with his life. The way Charlie perceives being
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This novel exposes the progression of the main character, Charlie, and his ongoing results as various scientific experiments conducted on him change his mental ability and range of knowledge. As mentally disabled, Charlie yearns for the intellectual capability the people around him encompass. How
Charlie gains intelligence and how this deeply affects him only touches the surface of the analytical value of this novel. A prevalent component of life includes genuine human connection with those one interacts with. The ability to achieve these connections relies on one’s mental capacity to handle these relationships, which Charlie lacks at the beginning of the story. This investigation allows for an analytical approach to Keyes’s work and challenges the
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Charlie serves as a symbol of a type of flawed innocence in which the powerful, negative characters in his life taint. His own mother, for example, instills the idea of Charlie lacking humanity or worth unless he is intelligent. Charlie’s mother desires the best for him by “pretending he's normal” (Keyes 45). This innocence comes at a price of ignorance, which applies to Charlie in the way that he remains unaware of the human corruption around him. As the guys from the bakery invite Charlie for drinks, Charlie “[does] a dance on the bar with a lampshade on [his] head” as “everyone [laffs]” (Keyes 10). Keyes employs the brilliant use of imagery within this progress report to allow the reader to visualize the extent of Charlie’s isolation. Charlie, separate from the rest of the people in the bar, acts out a degraded form of entertainment for the audience. His object of humiliation, a lampshade, symbolizes the barrier between him and the other people in the bar, presumably of average
Cisneros, 6 intelligence. This form of isolation along with Charlie’s lack of recognition of his humiliation prevents him from reaching a truthful grasp of his own emotional capacity and
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