While reading “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, many thoughts about the story were going through my head. Certain parts of the story caught my attention but none more than when Charlie falls into the same trap as everyone else by laughing at the mentally disabled dish-washer until he suddenly remembers that this used to be him once. This story enters the debate on the treatment of people with below and above the average intelligence. By being part of society, we all fall victim to judging people based on their intelligence even though we should be treating them based on who they are as a person and their personalities. Within my class many people believed the main problem of the story of Charlie was his trying to improve his way of …show more content…
Eventually, his lab rat partner, Algernon, has a fall in his intelligence, leading to his death, making Charlie realize that this is soon going to happen to him. When he starts going through this decrease in intelligence, Charlie finds it harder and harder to understand the things he had once written himself, so he decides that he needs to move away so he doesn’t hurt people close to him when it comes time for him to die.
As Charlie is mentally challenged, he is used as the groups play toy for their entertainment which he understands as his intelligence improves. This is apparent when Charlie is at a work party and describes the events of when “Joe Carp said I shoud show the girls how I mop out the toilet in the factory and he got me a mop. I showed them and everyone laffed” (290). This is a good sign within the story that the people within the blue-collar society look down at mentally challenged people. Charlie has no idea that he is being laughed at and in his head, is thinking that he is amusing his “friends” by them laughing with him, when in fact they are laughing at him. Keyes writes this to give the impact of how subconsciously people are using mentally disable people to their benefit without thinking of how they feel. In an article written by Katharine Harding called “Flowers for Algernon”, a book club discusses the short story and various parts in it. A good use of their findings in relation to
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The protagonist of Daniel Keyes’ Science Fiction short story, “Flowers for Algernon” Charlie Gordon should not have gotten the experiment. Charlie would have lost everyone he held dear, such as Miss Kinnian because he held a strong bond with her.As well as people he holds dear, his IQ dropped well below what it was before hand. Charlie had made a
As Charlie's intelligence increases he thinks that he will be more liked the higher his intelligence climbs, but later Charlie discovers that whether you are of lower intelligence then most of the population or of higher intelligence you still will not quite fit in. "I've discovered that no one really cares for Charlie Gordon whether he is a moron or a genius. (Keyes 172) Charlie's relationship with Alice also shows how whether he is of extreme low extreme high intellect he still cannot communicate with her the way he needs to. " I'm just as far away from Alice with an I.Q of 185 then when I had an IQ of 70" (Keyes 88). In today's society if a persons thoughts slightly differ from those of the majority of the population then they will be scrutinized and shunned from the others. People are not willing to look at an idea through a different perspective and this is shown in Flowers For Algernon, when Charlie discovers the fault in Dr. Nemur's experiment and confronts him about it, Dr. Nemur treats him like the old Charlie who is to mentally challenged to be correct. It is repeated numerous times during the novel that Charlie was "created" by the experiment and was not a "human being" because of his below 100 IQ before the operation. "I'm a human being, a person- with parents and memories and a history- and I was before you ever wheeled me into that operating room." (Keyes 112). Society needs to learn that even those who are different then most of us still are humans and
Character development is the core for Daniel Keyes endeavor to convey themes to his audience by developing the character of Charlie Gordon. One way to develop his character is through relationships with other characters, which is critical in conveying the themes in the book. Another way through which Keyes develops Charlie Gordon’s character for his audience is through letting in the audience on the thoughts of the character in the book so they get on a ride with his emotion, conflict, and dilemmas. Flowers for Algernon illustrates how cruel the society treats the mentally disabled with the use of literary elements. Daniel Keyes conveys the message that the grass is not always greener on the other side through character development.
Charlie shares the whole experimental experience with Algernon and Charlie discovers his own future through Algernon. However when Charlie falls intellectually we see the strength of friendship at the end of the novel and Charlie’s last words are “put some flowers on Algernon’s grave in the bak yard” (Keyes, 311). This shows that Carlie understood the true meaning friendship, that it can take place between anyone and anything as long as it’s unconditional.
Charlie was faced with many losses throughout the story. For example, he had the surgery that made him intelligent, but he soon regressed to his previous self. Secondly, he also lost a mouse named Algernon, who he raced with at the research hospital. Lastly, Charlie lossed
People believed that Charlie was artificial, man-made, a lab rat. Professor Nemur thought that he had created Charlie, and that he was nothing before the operation “It might be said that Charlie Gordon did not really exist before this experiment…”. Charlie was a human before and after the operation “I’m a human being, a person with parents and memories and a history and I was before you ever wheeled me into that operating room!”. (p.161) As Charlie began to grow mentally and become intelligent, his understanding of the world became clearer than before. Although he could understand reality, he couldn't understand his feelings. Charlie thought he could understand his feelings but he really didn't, especially love “Something inside is burning me up, and all I know is it makes me think of you.”. Later, as he continues to grow, he decides that he could let his feelings rule him only during his relationship with Alice but not during anything else. He realized that he really loves Alice because his feelings and emotions go wild when he's with her. Also because he sees the old Charlie when he's with her helping him realize he loves her. Charlie loved her enough to let her go because he didn't want her to see him deteriorate. Charlie decided to go to the Warren Home because he
The award-winning short science fiction, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, digs deep in how society reacts to different levels of intelligence. The book covers a wide variety of society from the creative minds to world-renowned scientists. When a retarded adult becomes one of those brain maniacs through a scientific operation, you get the full spectrum of what it is like personally as a handicapped person and through the minds of a genius. In the reports, you can see the progress and comparison of Charlie’s realization towards other people’s capability of intelligence.
In Flowers for Algernon, the main character, Charlie Gordon is a 32 year old who is mentally disabled. He has been living his life thus far with an IQ of sixty-eight. Although Charlie is not smart, he is very happy, but being happy does not always mean being content, and Charlie is a perfect example of this. Charlies teacher, Miss Kinnian, explained to him that there is a chance for him to get smarter, and that is through a secret surgery. He wants to fit in and be smart like everyone else, but the outcome of the surgery may not be as planned. Charlie’s increased intelligence causes him to lose his innocence. When Charlie loses his innocent mindset he gains experience, which also brings him emotional outbursts. The sacrifices Charlie makes
As a consequence, having the operation created the chance for unpredictable and unwanted outcomes. Charlie was the first human patient for the experiment. Since the doctors have never tried the operation on a human being before, the chances for making mistakes are higher. This was proven as Algernon soon experiences side effects as his intelligence regresses and he eventually passes away. Soon, Charlie also regresses back to his original intelligence state. In conclusion, having the operation created unpredictable and unwanted outcomes. I inferred that Charlie wouldn’t die like Algernon did because the last line in the book in which he asks that someone puts flowers on Algernon's grave shows that he hasn't lost 100% of his memory of what happened. The fact that he remembers Algernon and his meticulous ritual of placing flowers on his grave shows that with repetition and reminders, he does have the capacity to recall details about the time he spent with intelligence. It's there somewhere in his subconscious, just like his childhood memories were before. While Charlie maintains most of his intelligence, 16 days after Algernon bit Charlie, Algernon died. And even after 13 days realizing his intelligence is regressing, he isn't showing signs of sickness, just showing that he is absentminded. Having all these different factors influenced all these different outcomes. In
In Flowers For Algernon, many people judge Charlie because he is different from them. An example of this is how all of Charlie’s so called “friends” at the bakery treat him. They laugh and make fun of him because of how he looks and acts, just because it is different then them. These “friends” at the bakery do everything they can to humiliate Charlie, they play mean pranks on him, and always make fun of him, but he can not do anything back because he does not know how to. These guys invited Charlie to a party so that they could make fun of him and have a good laugh. Charlie
Flowers For Algernon Essay In Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, the main character Charlie Gordon under goes in an operation to increase his intelligence as a mentally disabled person. Later on in the story he looses the intelligence he gained and could be on the road to dying. He is better off with the surgery because he gained so much such as, social cues and intelligence. Before the operation Charlie could barely say complete sentences let alone spell, but after the operation he was becoming smarter than his teacher, Mrs. Kinnian.
“You just pulled a Charlie Gordon.” That was often said by his co-workers. Charlie Gordon was an adult male in his 30’s that was mentally challenged. Everyone made fun of him his whole life for it. There are many conflicts in the story, but there are two that stood out for me. First, his so called “friends” signed a petition to have him fired, due to him getting more intelligent. Secondly, once Algeron starts to loose his intelligence charlie realizes he's going to start losing it soon too!
A famous quote from Flowers for Algernon by Charlie would be, “I’m like a man who’s been half-asleep all his life, trying to find out what he was like before he woke up.” Charlie is a mentally disabled boy who is trying to get smart. Getting smart is his top priority right now than anything else. He was progressing with his spelling. I do think that Charlie’s writing as a mentally disabled man at the beginning and end of the novel accurately represent the way a disabled person would write because if you are mental at least, then you are not really able to do anything without help.
Alternatively, in ‘Flowers for Algernon’, individual characters or whole groups are confronted by the enhanced intelligence of Charlie Gordon. What becomes obvious here is that interactions may challenge an individual but this doesn’t necessarily lead to a permanent change in their attitudes. The emerging difference between Charlie and his workmates, Joe Carp and Frank Reilly, resulted in evasive statements to avoid social interaction from them later in the narrative, in stark contrast to earlier interactions where they actively initiated contact with him to make a spectacle of his weak intelligence.
The scientists at the lab report to Charlie that he and Algernon are to be taken to Chicago for a convention, in which the head scientist will present the findings of his team. Once they arrive, Charlie and Algernon are the prime “exhibits” and Charlie is humiliated by some remarks made. He also discovers that the researchers had not given sufficient time to verify their results of Algernon before performing the experiment on Charlie. Charlie and Algernon run away to New York, and Charlie decides his time is probably short, and begins to try and trace the reasons for his experiments’ failure. Alice and Charlie cannot overcome their problems, and she is forced to move on. He soon gets involved with Fay, his neighbor and unconventional artist. Around her, he is able to defeat his inhibitions. But as Charlie’s work becomes harder and more time constraining, they too break up.