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Flowers For Algernon Symbolism Analysis

Decent Essays
Throughout the novel Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, many symbols are introduced and developed. Two of these symbols, which are portraits found in Alice's apartment, focus on the separation between Charlie's life before surgery and his life after surgery. The first portrait is a reproduction of Picasso's "Mother and Child", while the second is a simple painting of a Renaissance courtier holding a sword protecting a maiden. The first portrait symbolizes Charlie being caressed by his own mother, while the second portrait represents Charlie protecting Alice. Each of these portraits illustrate a different aspect of Charlie's life while also expressing the contrast between the two.
To begin, the first portrait is representing Charlie, as
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Statements such as the given one, show why Charlie has such fear associated with getting intimate with women. Finally, Charlie shows how his mother is still present by stating, "I still hear her. But perhaps I had been released" (112). No matter what Charlie does, his mother's threats are constantly in the back of his head and he cannot escape them.
On the other hand, the second portrait is meant to represent Charlie protecting Alice. This painting explores Charlie's want to have a relationship with a woman. While expressing his feelings towards Alice but realizing it's too early to further his intentions, Charlie states, "I'm a person. I was somebody before I went under the surgeon's knife. And I have to love someone" (85). This statement shows that Charlie feels the need to build an intimate relationship with a woman, but is currently unable to do so. Furthermore, when in Alice's apartment, Charlie states, "There in her arms I cried myself to sleep, and I dreamed of the courtier and the pink-cheeked maiden. But in my dream it was the maiden who held the sword" (113). The aforementioned quote shows that although Charlie wants to be with Alice, he views her as dangerous due to the fear his mother instilled in him as a child. Even so, Charlie still deeply wants a relationship with Alice and shows this through stating, "The only bad thing about
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