Across the horizon: the rising sun and endless possibilities

Home - Studyworld Studynotes - Quotes - Reports & Essays 






Oakwood Publishing Company:


Study Material




Flowers For Algernon
Novel Homejpage
Novel Summary
Character Profiles
Metaphor Analysis
Theme Analysis
Top Ten Quotes
Essay Q&A

Flowers For Algernon

Character Profiles


Algernon is a mouse that earlier underwent the same operation as Charlie.� Algernon becomes an expert at running highly complex mazes.� Charlie competes with Algernon in maze races.� As the experiment progresses, Algernon's demeanor becomes unpredictable and aggressive.� This signals a problem with the experiment.� Eventually, Algernon's abilities radically regress, and he dies.� Charlie comes to love the mouse and buries Algernon in his backyard, often placing flowers on the mouse's grave.�


Mr. Donner

Mr. Donner is Charlie's boss and the owner of Donner's Bakery.� He hires Charlie at the request of Charlie's Uncle Herman, promising that as long as he lives Charlie will have a job.� Donner believes in Charlie, but eventually dismisses him at the request of his other employees.


Gimpy, Joe Carp and Frank Reilly

Gimpy, Joe Carp, and Frank Reilly are Charlie's co-workers at the bakery.� Initially, these men delight in playing pranks on and making fun of Charlie.� They resent the more intelligent Charlie when he returns to his job after the operation and eventually get Charlie fired.� However, at the end of the novel, when Charlie's intellectual level has dramatically receded and he returns to the bakery, they defend and vow to protect him.�


Charlie Gordon

Charlie Gordon is the novel's main character.� He is a 32-year-old janitor employed at a bakery.� At the beginning of the novel, Charlie has a very low IQ but attends remedial night classes for reading and writing at Beekman School for Retarded Adults, part of Beekman University in New York.� He attends the classes because he has always had a desire to learn.� Though he is of limited intelligence, Charlie is a hard-working, honest man.� He lives on his own and feels that he has true friends at the bakery.� Unfortunately, he is gullible and is frequently the butt of jokes by his co-workers.�


Charlie agrees to participate in an intelligence-enhancing experiment and undergoes an operation.� The procedure dramatically increases Charlie's intelligence, tripling his IQ.� As a result, he experiences a tremendous change in his intellectual ability.� At the same time his emotional and personal life are also radically transformed, causing him much mental pain and anguish.� Unfortunately, the procedure's effect is not permanent, and Charlie eventually regresses to his original state of mind.


Matt Gordon

Matt Gordon is Charlie's father.� Matt is more realistic than Rose about Charlie's abilities and is more comfortable with Charlie as he is.� In the beginning of the novel Matt is a salesman of barber shop supplies.� He eventually leaves Rose and Norma and opens his own barber shop.� He does not recognize Charlie when Charlie returns to visit him.�


Norma Gordon

Norma Gordon is Charlie's younger sister.� Other children tease her about Charlie; as a result, she develops a strong dislike of him.� When Charlie visits his mother and sister late in the experiment, Norma is shocked, stating that Rose informed her that Charlie had died years ago at the Warren Home.� Norma tells Charlie that she would welcome his return to the family.�


Rose Gordon

Rose Gordon is Charlie's mother.� For the first few years of Charlie's life, she desperately wants to see her son as normal and steadfastly defends him.� She takes Charlie to numerous doctors in an attempt to improve his mental ability.� However, when Norma, Charlie's sister, is born, Rose's position reverses; she begins to distrust and to even dislike her son.� She eventually forces her husband to remove Charlie from their home and remand him to the care of the Warren Home.�


Dr. Guarino

Charlie is taken to Dr. Guarino at his mother's insistence.� Guarino claims he can enhance Charlie's intelligence with a procedure that involves strapping Charlie to a table and subjecting him to a visual/auditory stimulus device.� Charlie later comes to view Guarino as a charlatan.�


Uncle Herman

Charlie's Uncle Herman, an overweight house painter, is responsible for getting Charlie discharged from the Warren Home and for getting him the job at Donner's Bakery.�



Hilda is Charlie's first nurse after his operation.� She suggests that perhaps the operation should not have been performed because it was tampering with God's will.�


Miss Alice Kinnian

Miss Alice Kinnian is Charlie's teacher at Beekman School for Retarded Adults, where Charlie attends remedial night classes in reading and writing.� She develops a close personal relationship with Charlie and eventually falls in love with him.� She enjoys their relationship in the initial stages of Charlie's intellectual rising, but feels alienated when his intelligence surpasses her own.� Though they become estranged, she returns to take care of Charlie when his intelligence eventually declines.�


Fay Lillman

Fay Lillman is Charlie's artistic neighbor at his second apartment in Times Square.� She is a painter, and Charlie finds her attractive.� They engage in a whirlwind romance predicated on nightly drinking and dancing in local clubs.� As Charlie's time runs out, he tires of the routine and spends less and less time with her.� Charlie attempts to reconnect with Fay when his intelligence begins to recede, but she is frightened of him.


Bertha Nemur

Bertha Nemur is Professor Nemur's overbearing wife.� She has played a large role in her husband's career and is responsible for procuring the funding for the experiment from the Welberg Foundation.�


Professor Harold Nemur

Professor Harold Nemur is a psychology professor at Beekman University and is the senior scientist in the experiment.�� Nemur is somewhat insecure personally and professionally, and he enjoys taking credit for Charlie's enhanced intelligence.� He usually treats Charlie more as a test subject than an individual human being.�


Burt Selden

Burt Selden is a graduate student majoring in psychology at Beekman University.� He administers various tests to Charlie throughout the experiment.� Selden seems to genuinely care about Charlie as an individual.�


Dr. Jay Strauss

Dr. Jay Strauss is a psychiatrist and neurosurgeon at Beekman University.� He is a colleague of Professor Nemur and is co-director of the experiment.� He performs the operation on Charlie and also psychoanalyzes Charlie throughout the experiment.�


Novel Homepage | Novel Summary | Character Profiles | Metaphor Analysis
Theme Analysis | Top Ten Quotes | Biography | Essay Q&A


Teacher Ratings: See what

others think

of your teachers

Copy Right