Flowers for Algernon and Morality Essay

Flowers for Algernon and Morality Essay

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In the novel, Flowers for Algernon the question of morality comes to mind. There are many immoral issues that appear throughout the novel. Three examples of this would be the treatment Charlie was receiving, the experiment itself, and Hilda the nurse talking about “Gods Play”. During the time period the novel takes place people did not feel any sympathy towards special needs people. They were not treated like everyone else would be. Looking at Charlie’s progress reports it shows the difficulty Charlie faces in his life everyday, how the experiment is not moral, and how the nurse Hilda symbolizes other immoral issues that are known in the novel.
Charlie has difficulty completing simple tasks such as writing down his progress. In Progress Report 1 he says “I cant think anymore because I have nothing to rite so I will close for today…”(Keyes 1). This shows how hard it was for Charlie to write about his progress in the journal before his operation. Charlie also has difficulty understand tasks other people assign him. An example of this would be in Progress Report 3 when Gimpy asks Charlie to put the tray of rolls in the oven. He has a difficult time attempting to do so and drops the tray. “Gimpy hollers at me all the time when I do something rong, but he reely likes me because hes my friend. Boy if I get smart wont he be surprised”(Keyes 4). Other people seem to get frustrated with Charlie when he does not do things right. Another issue of morality that can be seen through Charlie is how he is treated like an animal. In order to get Charlie to relax Gimpy gives Charlie a “bright shiny object”. This is so that he can play with it like a person would give their dog. “The pendant is a brightness that Charlie remembers but he do...


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... punished for his actions. Another example would be the experiment itself. The experiment was kept a secret because the scientists were unsure if it was going to succeed or not. In the begging of the novel Charlie believes the scientists know what they are doing and puts his faith in them to make his smarter. As the novel progresses he comes to the realization the experiment was a sham and that he will eventually deteriorate like the mouse. The last example given was about the nurse Hilda. She brought up some interesting moral issues in the novel. She talks about how the experiment is immoral because the scientists are playing with the works of God. This leads to the question about if human beings with special needs should be fixed. Charlie went from being mentally retarded to smart and then back to the way he was. The moral issues in the novel remain questionable.

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