“Eagar, Determined, and Motivated:” these three words describe Charlie Gordon in Daniel Keyes’s story “Flowers for Algernon”. Daniel Keyes writes about a thirty two year old man with a low IQ (Charlie Gordon) who strives to become “normal”. Charlie will do anything to become smarter even letting two doctors preform brain surgery to enhance his learning capability. Charlie evolves throughout the novel and by the end of his journey although his IQ is low he is a more complete person. He learns the true meaning of friendship and demonstrates intellectual growth as a person by overcoming obstacles and understanding various lessons.
Friendship consists of expectations, perceptions and the importance of it. Gimpy, Frank
and Joe (his so called friends) are the ideal people in the novel to observe in the perception of friendship. Before the surgery took place these men were his best friends. He loved working at Mr.Donner’s bakery and looked forward to spending time with them. After the surgery, Charlie realizes their relationship in a different light and recognizes that these men were never his true friends. They not only made fun of him but he was often used for their entertainment. When Charlie is at work, Gimpy tries to make fun of him by saying “Ernie for god sake you trying to be a Charlie Gordon” (Keyes, 23), this is being said to the new employee when he makes a delivery error. This statement reveals that Gimpy is inconsiderate because he is making fun of a delayed human being who considers gimpy his best friend. As he realizes that they weren't his friends, so ends their friendship. The first book Charlie reads after his surgery (Robinson Crusoe) foreshadows a clash that he will encounter with h...
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...nce thought. Charlie’s greatest leap towards intellectual growth occurred in an argument with Prof Nemur after the cocktail party. Nemur says “We had no control over … your personality… you’ve developed from a likable, retarded young man into an arrogant, self-centered, antisocial bastard” (Keyes, 247) these points that Prof Nemur makes are potent enough to alter Charlie’s perception completely. In fact Charlie realizes the he doesn’t have to be arrogant or inconsiderate to grow intellectually.
In conclusion, Charlie Gordon faces many obstacles throughout his journey. By learning the true meaning of friendship and growing intellectually he is able to overcome all of his challenges. In the end this novel was a great sci-fi story with amazing life lessons and good motivators to strive to become who you want to be.
Flowers for Algernon By Daniel Keyes
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