Glimpsing Reality

635 Words3 Pages
A short story written by Daniel Keys, “Flowers for Algernon” is about a thirty-seven years old man named Charlie who suffers from a below average I.Q of sixty eight. Recommended by his teacher, Ms. Kinnian for an experimental surgery, Charlie undergoes a surgery planned by Doctor Nemur and Doctor Strauss. Once the surgery is over, Charlie’s intelligence increases exponentially. However, in the end, he retrogresses, again at a below average I.Q. Prior to becoming smart, Charlie led a simple life, naïve and hardworking; however, afterwards, he understands himself and others. Before the operation, Charlie is naïve yet hardworking. As he once wrote, “I told them I dint spill the ink on the cards and I coudn see anything in the ink” (pg. 222) Even after given direction for this test (the Rorschach test), Charlie is unable to think clearly about what the ink blots look like. Throughout the time before the surgery, his thoughts, such as this, reflect his naiveté. Later on, he attends the adult night school by himself, explaining that “I asked pepul and sumbody told me where I shud go to lern to read and spell good…all my life I want to be smart and not dumb” (pg. 222). Although disadvantaged, Charlie repeatedly attempts to improve himself. Driven to be smart, he shows determination in trying to do his best. In addition, he relates, “Joe said I shoud show the girls how I map out the toilet in the factory…I showed them and everyone laffed when I told that Mr Donnegan said I was the best janitor he ever had because I like my job and do it good” (pg. 228). Content with the job he has, he works hard at it, much to the workers’ amusement. Misunderstanding their taunting remarks, Charlie believes Joe and the people at... ... middle of paper ... ...understand motives as to why people act a certain way. In addition, he can perceive what it is like for people who are normal and those who are mentally impaired – he once was a “clown” and he once was a “genius.” As a result, he sympathized with all people and strived to help them out, such as Doctor Nemur. Lastly, he can listen to his own feelings and comprehends them, both in his frustration and his wish to leave. Like in both cases, Charlie can make his own decisions rather than being completely gullible to what people say. Although he was a hard worker before he surgery. His naiveté subjected him to cruelty and a childlike world and even though he lost most of the intelligence he gained, he still retained his interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. Overall, Charlie was better off getting a glimpse of the real world rather than just skimming the surface.
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