Flowers For Algernon
The main character of the story are: Charlie, who is a
mentally retarded individual involved in a remarkable
experiment which increased his I.Q., Alice, a teacher at
the special education faculty at Beekman College who taught
Charlie how to read and write, the professors who performed
the experiment on Charlie, Fay, one of Charlie's
acquaintances whom he meets as the book progresses, and
last but not least Algernon.
The novel is exciting and contains very original material.
The moods which are created in the reader, are sorrow,
anger, and guilt. One of the elements of the story which
contributes greatly to the mood the reader experiences is
the plot. In the story, Charlie, is subject to an
experiment which increases his intelligence. Charlie hopes
that by knowing more, he would impress people and then they
would want to be his friend. Unfortunately some of his
anticipations were not met.
A character who did not make much of an appearance, but
played a very important part in helping Charlie sort out
his past and figure out his present and future plans, was
Fay. She is an artist whose views on life can be rarely
found in an individual. As the book progresses, Fay, helps
Charlie reveal his physical and emotional capabilities.
Charlie is a mentally retarded person who has impressed
people because his main ambition is to gain many friends.
At one point, he hears of an experiment which could
possibly make him smart. He makes himself subject to this
human experiment with the hope of gaining knowledge on how
to make friends. Charlie goes through dramatic changes
mentally, and instead of achieving his objective, he
actually is looked upon in the same way if not worse. For
example, at Charlie's old work, his "friends" made fun of
him, but at the same time, enjoyed his company because he
had amused them. After the operation, Charlie discovers
that he had not made his friends like him more, but in
actual fact, had pushed them away. Charlie understood now
what his friends had done to him in the past, and starts to
look down upon them.
Alice, Charlie's teacher, is the person who introduced
Charlie to the idea of giving the experiment a chance. She
believes that Charlie has the determination, desire, and
will power to make the experiment work. She then, later on
in the book, gets emotionally involved with Charlie and
helps Charlie learn more about himself.
Algernon, is a lab animal who also has the experiment done
on him and as result makes him smarter than the average
mouse. Algernon also plays a very important part in the
novel because he represents Charlie and foreshadows what
will happen to Charlie later on in the book.
There are many exciting parts which occur in the book. One
incident which proved to be the most memorable, was when
Charlie had been trying to find out what had gone wrong in
the experiment before the inevitable happened to him. After
he had discovered what had gone wrong he had started to
descend down the escalator of intelligence. He desperately
tried to recover his intelligence but was unsuccessful. It
was the same as trying to walk up an escalator that is
The only thing that I do not agree with is how the book
concludes. The conclusion of the book in my eyes leaves the
reader hanging like... this. If I would make a change, I
would write about what happened after Charlie Gordon's
death. An example of this would be possible progress and
success in the field, or maybe because of the events which
had occurred in the past in this field, the experiment was
discontinued, or maybe Fay or Alice had conceived a child
who grew older, pursued his/her father's theory/discovery
which in turn leads into a sequel.
If anyone were to ask me if they should read "Flowers For
Algernon", I would recommend it highly. It makes the
reader realize how a mentally retarded person feels, and
thinks. This book has made me realize just how much more
determination a mentally retarded person could possibly
have, and made me realize just how lucky I am.
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