Charlie Jordan words at a bakery in New York City. But there is something a little different about Charlie--he is mentally retarded. He also attends evening classes at Beckman College. Here he submits his “progress reports” to the research team at the college. In these reports the reader is revealed Charlie’s experiences in the bakery where the owner has brought him from the Warren State Home, an institute for mentally retarded. He soon becomes a part of the bakery, and considers his co-workers as friends. From these reports, the team has considered Charlie a prime candidate for an experimental surgery, which if effective, would improve his intelligence.
Soon begins Charlie’s preliminary testing. For weeks and weeks on end, Charlie undergoes simple tests of ordinary tasks, and competes in racing with a mouse. He becomes depressed when the mouse beats him every time. The operations takes place soon after, and Charlie becomes more disappointed with immediate results. However, he is assured that he will progress gradually, and steadily. Over a short period of time, he begins to read more, win more mazes, and master some complex processes at the bakery. His co-workers begin to resent him, and he is completely disillusioned. He now has to spend more and more time being tested at the lab. Charlie learns that the mouse Algernon, whom he constantly competes with, has also undergone a surgery similar to his own, and accounts for his intelligence.
Charlie surges ahead in knowledge, and masters’ languages. He begins to see his supportive teacher from the college, Alice, as an attractive young woman. They become extremely close, and Charlie eventually tries to make love to her. On these several occasions, he finds that he suffers a violent physical reaction while trying and has to stop. He cannot understand why this is happening to him. At this sa...
... middle of paper ...
...is family, he seeks it among his co-workers at the bakery. When they push him away, he feels like he has no one. Charlie is also not shown to have any kind of a sex drive until after his operation. The reader notices that his genuine love for Alice is constantly hampered by the repressive attitudes that have been fostered between him and his mother since his childhood. His relationship then grows with Fay. He both likes and admires her, but seeks her for only a sexual outlet, not on an emotional level as he feels for Alice. Their love for each other reaches success only in the final stages of the book but its intensity comforts him for all the days he has lost, and his own bleak future.
In conclusion, in the book Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes gives the reader an excellent insight into the life of a mentally retarded person. Although the end for Charlie was disappointing, it is understood. The author awakens a level of sympathy and an exceptional empathy in the reader for Charlie Jordan, who is always a victim but struggles till the end for self-respect and acceptance from society.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Comparison Between Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon and Awakenings There were many similarities between the short story “Flowers for Algernon” and the movie Awakenings. “Flowers for Algernon”, by Daniel Keyes, is about a man named Charlie, who has a very low IQ. Charlie gets an operation to make him smarter. It is a story about what happens to him during that period of time. The movie, Awakenings, directed by Penny Marshall, starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, is about how some people, including Leonard Lowe, the main character, developed a disease and are now catatonic.... [tags: Compare Contrast, Flowers for Algernon, Awakenings]
633 words (1.8 pages)
- Self-awareness is the main theme that is present throughout all three novels, Frankenstein, Flowers for Algernon, and A Clockwork Orange. All four characters, Charlie, Alex, Victor, and the monster are aware of themselves. Alex’s awareness is revealed in the first page of the novel when Alex says, “What’s it going to be then, eh?”(Burgess 1). In Flowers for Algernon, Charlie’s consciousness is shown through his written progress reports. In Frankenstein, the monster sees his reflection in the water and he realizes why the villagers rejected him.... [tags: Frankenstein, Flowers for Algernon]
568 words (1.6 pages)
- In the story "Flowers for Algernon", the main character, Charlie Gordon is a mentally retarded 37 year-old man with an IQ of sixty-eight. Although he might not have been smart, I believe that Charlie was the definition of happiness. He worked happily as a janitor, was motivated to learn, and had a great time with his so called ?friends.. After Charlie undergoes an experiment that triples his IQ, his life changes for the worse. With intelligence does not come happiness. For Charlie, Ignorance is bliss.... [tags: Flowers for Algernon Essays]
395 words (1.1 pages)
- This is the fifteenth in a series of reviews of those pieces of written science fiction and fantasy which have won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. I had some reservations about including "Flowers for Algernon" in this series. It is an unusual case in that different versions of the story won different awards; the original short story, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1959, won a 1960 Hugo, while the novel length expansion jointly won a 1966 Nebula. So to do it justice I would have to review two separately published versions of the story in one web page.... [tags: Flowers Algernon Keyes]
1309 words (3.7 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Flowers Algernon Daniel Keyes]
1110 words (3.2 pages)
- Flowers for Algernon Flowers for Algernon, written by Daniel Keyes, is a book that is an emotional roller coaster. This book includes science that one day might not be fictional but may come true and will be able to be used on people who have intellectual disabilities in today's world. The book starts with a man, who is mentally retarded, writing in a journal about them using him in a surgery used to change him for the better. This mans name is Charlie Gordon. He is the kind of man who works hard to achieve only little accomplishments and never gives up.... [tags: Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes Book Review]
1361 words (3.9 pages)
- Experiment Gone Bad in Flowers for Algernon One experiment was done on a mentally retarded person to try to raise his intelligence. The experiment worked, but after months, he came back to the state he orginally was at. In the book, Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes, this intelligence operation was done, and the patient was Charlie Gordon. After the operation, Charlie was very bright, but experienced loneliness, and physcological distress. Charlie was emotionaly upset because of his flashbacks from childhood, and because his intellegence grew faster then his emotional intellegence.... [tags: Flowers for Algernon Essays]
608 words (1.7 pages)
- My name is Charly Gordon. I had an operation. I will become smart. I have a chalkboard. I write things on the chalkboard. This helps me to remember. Today I will run amazed with Algernon. Algernon is a mouse. I want to win the amazed. I like the teeter-totter. When I am up in the air, I am free. I like to make funny faces in the mirror. Miss Kinnian showed me a raw shok test. I failed. I want to be smart. From the time we encounter Charly until he is told of his operation, every thing Charly does are for reasons unknown to him, but are required for survival in the human world.... [tags: Flowers for Algernon]
955 words (2.7 pages)
- “Flowers for Algernon, first published in 1959, is considered a landmark work on both science fiction and disability literature,” (Werlock 2009). The American Library Association reports that this novel was banned as an obscene for its love scenes. When the main character, Charlie Gordon, increases his IQ from 68 to a level that makes him a genius (after received experimental brain surgery), his maturity leads him to fall in love with his teacher, and a sexual encounter ensues. This caused Flowers for Algernon to be banned and challenged in many places (Plant City, Florida- 1976, Emporium, Pennsylvania- 1977, Oberlin High School (Ohio) - 1983, among others).... [tags: Character Analysis, Charlie Gordon]
1055 words (3 pages)
- Flowers for Algernon Flowers for Algernon is about a middle-aged man suffering from mental retardation. The man is Charlie Gordon. The exposition of this novel is rather intricate. Flowers for Algernon takes place in the nineteen-fifties. Charlie is chosen to participate in an experiment that will supposedly raise his IQ. But it turns out that they turn him into a genius, and it is only temporary. Along the way he falls in love with his teacher, Miss Kinnian. But he grows so intelligent that they grew farther apart as Charlie gets smarter.... [tags: Papers]
668 words (1.9 pages)