Flowers For Algernon

Flowers For Algernon

Length: 649 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Algernon is a mouse. He's a special mouse, Charlie Gordon
is told, and it must be true, because whenever Charlie and
Algernon run a race (Algernon is in a real maze; Charlie has a
pencil-and-paper version), Algernon wins. How did that mouse
get to be so special, Charlie wonders?

The answer is that Algernon's IQ has been
tripled by an experimental surgical procedure.
The scientists who performed the experiment
now need a human subject to test, and Charlie
has been recommended to them by his
night-school teacher, Miss Kinnian. Charlie's a good candidate
for the procedure, because even though he currently has an I.Q.
of only 68, he is willing, highly motivated and eager to learn.
He's convinced that if he could only learn to read and write, the
secret of being smart would be revealed to him.

Charlie wants to be smart because he works as a janitor in a
factory where he has many friends, but even as he goes along
with their hijinks, he suspects his friends mock him. The
opportunity to be made smart--really smart--is irresistible, even
though there's a chance that the results of the operation will only
be temporary. Because Charlie wants his co-workers to accept
him.

And therein lies the tale. Charlie does indeed get smarter. He
struggles to absorb as much knowledge as he can in whatever
time he has. He suggests a new way to line up the machines at
the factory, saving the owner tens of thousands of dollars a year
in operating costs, and the owner gives him a $25 bonus. But
when Charlie suggests to his factory friends that he could use his
bonus to treat them to lunch or a drink, they have other things to
do. Charlie's too smart for them now. He's even smart enough
to assist with the research on intelligence enhancement. He's
smart enough to suddenly perceive Miss Kinnian with new
eyes...and fall in love.

Everybody is Charlie

Flowers for Algernon is such a beloved classic that it has
remained in print since 1959 and is now in its 58th edition. It has
received science fiction's highest honors, the Hugo and Nebula
Awards. It's been translated into dozens of languages, adapted
for TV, and performed on stage. Cliff Robertson won an Oscar
for his performance in the 1968 movie version, Charly.

Everybody loves Charlie's story because Charlie is so
vulnerable, so representative of readers' internal desires to fit in,
to be smart, to have friends, to love. Everyone carries the
ancient baggage of childhood, a time when others (adults, older
children) were the keepers of the secret knowledge of the
world. The revelation of Charlie's raw hopes and dreams

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Flowers For Algernon." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Feb 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=65937>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Comparison Between Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon and Awakenings Essay

- 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]

Research Papers
633 words (1.8 pages)

The Theme of Self-awareness in Frankenstein, Flowers for Algernon, and A Clockwork Orange

- 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]

Research Papers
568 words (1.6 pages)

Essay on Intelligence and Happiness in Flowers for Algernon

- 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]

Free Essays
395 words (1.1 pages)

Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes Essays

- 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]

Free Essays
1309 words (3.7 pages)

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes Essays

- 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]

Research Papers
1110 words (3.2 pages)

Essay Flowers For Algernon

- 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]

Free Essays
1361 words (3.9 pages)

Experiment Gone Bad in Flowers for Algernon Essay example

- 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]

Free Essays
608 words (1.7 pages)

A Chalkboard, Playground Equipment, and Mirror in Flowers for Algernon Essay

- 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]

Research Papers
955 words (2.7 pages)

Flowers for Algernon Essay

- “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]

Research Papers
1055 words (3 pages)

Flowers for Algernon Essay

- 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]

Research Papers
668 words (1.9 pages)

Related Searches

through his laborious "progris riports" works so well because the
arc of his progress is apparent in his spelling, grammar, and
word choices, as well as in what he chooses to record about his
life.

Readers are made clearly aware of the tragic arc from the start.
The sense of impending doom makes Charlie's achievements all
the sweeter, as he begins to put together the pieces of his former
life. At the very moment that his essential nature emerges, as he
defends a mentally retarded boy from a laughing crowd and
resolves to use his new intelligence to contribute to human
knowledge, Algernon bites him.

Human beings have a finite life span, and part of being human is
having to contend with the loss of abilities toward the end.
Charlie's time in the sun is brief, and, like an Alzheimer's
sufferer, his grieving scarcely fades even when he can no longer
comprehend his losses. He is not able to accept the new, sincere
friendship and protectiveness shown by his factory friends--he
thinks they're sorry for him and feels shame. Yet he intends to
start a new life, and keep trying to learn. His determination
exemplifies the heroism and resilience of the human spirit.
Return to 123HelpMe.com