Flowers For Algernon Brian Burks 7/10/01 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. There are also two doctors in the novel, Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur. There are many complications in this book.
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One is his mental retardation and his desire to overcome it. Another is his growing to be smart. People start to dislike him because of that. And then another is his decline of intelligence and acceptance of it. The climax of Flowers for Algernon was when Charlie found out why Algernon was acting so erratically, and that he himself would face such a decline of intelligence and frustration on the way down. The resolution of the novel comes when Charlie finally loses all of the intelligence he gained in the experiment and went to live in the Warren Home for mentally handicapped people.
The protagonist of Flowers for Algernon is Charlie. Charlie is a 32-year-old mentally retarded man. He started out a simple kind of guy, easily pleased, good hearted, and basically only understood that people liked him when they laughed at him. He was involuntarily committed to an experiment that would increase his intelligence level dramatically. He later decides to take part in the experiment and do his own studies. He notices the lab mouse, Algernon’s, behavior gets a little weird.
He then discovers that this behavior is leading to Algernon’s decline, which will reflect his own. The antagonist is Charlie’s intelligence. Charlie’s intelligence gets in the way of his social life and also pulls him away from Miss. Kinnian, his first love. Charlie’s intelligence also turns him on his “creators”, Dr. Strauss and professor Nemur. Charlie’s teacher from the Adult School, Miss.
Kinnian, is a sincere woman who took interest in Charlie for his charm and kind heart. Dr. Strauss and professor Nemur are both psychologists trying to find a cure for mental retardation. They test their method on Charlie. They eventually end up struggling to remain superior to him. The conflict in Flowers for Algernon is a man vs. himself type.
Charlie’s conflict is his intelligence. Whether it is when he is retarded or when he is a genius, his intelligence worked against him. Charlie solves his conflict by surrendering to it. But before he does he tries to do some good. He contributes to the experiment and that is when he finds out that he will eventually deteriorate.
There was no way that he could stop it, so he gave in. Charlie was content with that, not happy that he had to go back to the way he was, but that he did things he never would have been able to do when he was retarded. The problem was solved in a believable way, and happened as if this story was a non-fiction novel. But ideally, Charlie should not have gone back to being retarded, and rather should have been able to reverse the process. He was a genius after all.
Flowers for Algernon took place in the nineteen-fifties at and around the New York, New York area. The setting does not contribute much in this novel. Charlie’s experiments take place at Beekman University where Professor Nemur and Dr. Strauss perform their experiments on Charlie and where Charlie performs his own experiments when he turn genius. Flowers for Algernon would not change much if it took place in a different setting.
Except the technology involved might have been different. The theme of Flowers for Algernon is that humans do not understand that mentally handicapped people have feelings too. Daniel portrays this by putting Charlie in a situation were he would be looked down upon. Then he puts Charlie in a position were he is superior. Charlie eventually realizes how he has treated people and tries to correct himself, but he starts his decline instead.
Flowers for Algernon was an enjoyable book mainly for its originality for how it was written. The book sets itself apart form the others because it is written in journal form. A retarded man named Charlie writes part of the journal. Because of this, the journal entries often have misspelled words and heavy grammar problems in them, just like they would in real life. But the neat thing about it is, when Charlie gets smarter, his spelling and grammar improve.
And then they skyrocket to a level higher than a normal person. Then you can watch as his spelling and grammar deteriorates to his previous level. The best part of this book was when Charlie was talking to Dr. Strauss. They were having an argument while doing an inkblot test. Charlie said “I passed your floor on the way up, and now I’m passing it on the way down, and I don’t think I’ll be taking this elevator again” (201).
That phrase summed up this novel. Flowers for Algernon needs little changes. It is a complete book with many great features to it. Psychology.