Moderator: Hello, everyone and welcome to a new addition of the roundtable, where experts converge on topics deemed most pressing to them as of late. Freshly back from Winter Break, our contributors for today’s discussion - Plato, Aristotle, Samuel Johnson, William Wordsworth, and Benjamin Arnold - have plenty to say concerning our topic of the day. These worthy gentlemen have convened, and informed me that their topic of discussion will be the literary worthiness of popular novel, Flowers for Algernon, by the esteemed Daniel Keyes. Now, without further ado, we will start this discussion off with Aristotle. Aristotle, what is your opinion on the worthiness of this novel?
Aristotle: I love the universality of this text. When Charlie recalls portions of his childhood, especially when his mother stopped seeing the value in her son because of his lack of intelligence, and Charlie realized that he “ became a weed, allowed to exist only where I would not be seen, in corners and dark places,”(168) he felt the bitter, lonely feelings of being left out, that is most universally acknowledged as a part of human nature. His toils with his love for Alice, and is both heartbroken and incredibly sad that she deems it necessary to break away from their friendship, due to the ever widening intellectual divide between them, that Charlie is not able to pass. This is truly striking to me as a reader.
Johnson: Yes, yes there is indeed a presence of universality within the work. However, I am not sure that is enough to give it credence, or declare it worthy of admiration. Charlie does feel the feelings that we gain through human nature, but these feelings occur because of a process completely unnatural - a procedure t...
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...is mean to be, as ideals of which to aspire. Returning to normal life, and seeing things as they really are makes bad art. The heartbreak and pity we feel as we read this novel is real, unfortunately too real, as there is nothing unique in these emotions - you might as well just step outside your home and watch the people go by, because their emotions will be the same as what is brought up in this novel. So, I agree with the majority of my fellow experts that say Flowers for Algernon is not a worthy novel.
Moderator: I think that wrapped our roundtable for today up quite nicely. While it is not a novel that is perfect, I stand with Aristotle and Mr. Wordsworth in saying that Flowers for Algernon is a nice read. Please give a round of applause to our experts, and we will see you next week for another great roundtable. Thank you for tuning in, and goodnight.
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