Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes Essays

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes Essays

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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes is a classic science fiction set in southeastern New York, New York City. The fictitious prose traces a man's inner psychological journey within from a world of retardation to a world of great intelligence. Narrated through a series of empirical "Progress Reports", Flowers for Algernon follows the intellectual and emotional rise and fall of Charlie Gordon, a young man born with an unusually low Intelligence Quotient (IQ), as he becomes the first human pilot-study for an ambitious brain experiment. Charlie Gordon lives a life of comical, despondent and derisive experiences as he surfaces from mental darkness, through various phases of perceiving and understanding levels of knowledge into the light of complex perception of himself, the people around him and the world.

The matter that lies in the heart of Flowers for Algernon is the individual turmoil of Charlie Gordon as he struggles to be recognized and treated as a human being and the psychological discord within. Narrator and focal character Charlie Gordon, is a memorable portrait of isolation of an individual who is at odds with society and who strive to have satisfactory relationships with others. Until the age of thirty-two, Charlie has lived in somewhat of a mental twilight. Impressed by Charlie's motivation to learn, psychiatrist and neurosurgeon, Dr. Strauss and his partner Professor Nemur performs an experimental surgical procedure which triples his Intelligence Quotient of 68. Another main character of Flowers for Algernon, Alice Kinnian, a teacher at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults teaches Charlie to read and write which slowly develops into affection. However as it becomes apparent the experiment is flawed and menta...


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..., it is reflected in his writing. Although it is difficult to have a handle on what Charlie tries to express in the first few progress reports, the reports are great means for facilitating the story. Filled with the angst of personal discovery and growth Flowers for Algernon is a sentimental story with a tear jerk ending, where Charlie Gordon's plight keeps readers turning the pages.

Various symbols are illustrated in book that portrays alienation and acceptance that alludes to ignorance being a form of bliss. Flowers for Algernon touch upon characteristics of man such as ambition, pride, and emotional development that use the accouterments of the basis of science fiction to put across the notions of perception and awareness that most people take for granted.

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