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Flowers for Algernon.
In the short story “Flowers for Algernon'; by Daniel Keyes, the
main character Charlie Gordon has an IQ of 68 and desires to become
intelligent. He is chosen to undergo an operation to increase his
intelligence level to 204, however he is unaware of the consequences
that may follow. His experiment is not worth the risk because he
realizes that humans can be cruel, the experiment is not permanent, and he loses his friends and job.
One of the reasons Charlie’s experience is not worth the risk is he realizes that humans can be cruel. This is seen throughout the story for example in the way Charlie Gordon’s so-called friends treat him. After the operation, on of Charlie’s friends Joe Carp teases him about the operation saying “hey look where Charlie had his operation what did they do Charlie, put some brains in.'; Another time Charlie realizes humans can be cruel is when Charlie is in a restaurant and the bus boy who is mentally challenged drops the dishes on the floor, the people start laughing at him and make fun of him. This makes Charlie upset and he begins to yell at the customers in the restaurant saying “Shut up. Leave him alone. It’s not his fault he can’t understand. He can’t help what he is. But he’s still a human being.'; Charlie also does not realizethat his friends are laughing at him and not with him until his IQ beginsto increase, and he figures out what Joe Carp and Frank Riley mean by “he pulled a Charlie Gordon.';
Another reason the operation is not worth the risk is because the
operation is not permanent. Before the operation, Charlie has an IQ of 68 he can write but his spelling is not very good. Charlie’s IQ increases to 204 after having the operation. Algernon a mouse that undergoes the same operation, starts to change. Charlie writes in one of his progress reports about how Algernon begins to change “ Burt, who is in charge of the experimental animals, tells me that Algernon is changing. He is less co-operative he refuses to run the maze anymore. general motivation has
decreased.'; Charlie now starts to change when his IQ begins to
decrease. Charlie begins to with draw from the doctors and Miss.
Kinnion and wants to be alone.
A further reason as to why Charlie’s experience is not worth the
risk is because he loses his friends and job.
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his so-called friends at work begin to notice the changes in him, and
become scared because they have no clue what is happening. The
employees at the Donnegan’s Plastic Box Company have a petition
which is signed by eight hundred employees asking that Charlie be
fired. Charlie confronts Joe Carp and Frank Riley asking about the
petition but they do not talk to Charlie about it, so he’s left out in the
cold not knowing why he was fired from his and why his friends are
treating him the way they are.
In conclusion, Charlie Gordon reaches his peak IQ of 204 realizing
too late the risks involved in the experimental operation. Along the way
he realizes that people who are mentally challenged are treated
differently. He then quickly realizes the operation only lasts a short
period. Finally Charlie is abandoned by his friends and he fired from
his job. Therefore because of Charlie’s rapid increase and decrease in
intelligence it is evident he loses more then he gains.