Flowers For Algernon


The story follows Progress reports written by Charlie Gordon a 32 year old mentally slow adult who is a candidate to undergo a new surgery to make him smart. Charlie was studying at the Beekman center for retarded adults and was recommended for the surgery by one of his teachers Miss Kinnian. Inspired by charlie's Determination Dr. Strauss and professor Nemur decide to use Charlie. At first his Progress is very slow at he begins to feel frustrated so they introduced Charlie to Algernon the mouse that under went to same surgery charlie did. They raced against each other in mazes at first Charlie was defeated becoming more and more frustrated but over time charlie began to learn no only on the mazes but on spelling and punctuation his began to become interested in politics, philosophy and symphony. Charlie also got a promotion at Donner's bakery were he works but it was all positive growth Charlie Started to realize his friends maybe weren't what they seemed to be and started to get vivid memories of his abusive childhood were even his own mother was ashamed of him. Charlie ends up falling in love with his old reading teacher Miss Kinnian but panics when he contemplated intimacy. During a therapy session with Dr. Strauss he explains how Charlie is sexually immature. Charlie soon starts to become lonely and depressed with vivid imaginations of his child hood he stops trusting people and becomes arrogant. Even though charlie is very smart Dr. Strauss thinks the emotionally charlie is still slow. Charlie finally reaches his breaking point at a psychology convention in Chicago when Professor Nemur treats him as if he was only a test subject so he steals Algernon from his cage and flies back to New York alone. At the peak of his intellectual power Charlie notices a flaw in Nemurs calculations which in one progress report is referred to as The Algernon and Gordon effect: a study of structure and function increased Intelligence (pg. 177). Charlie then goes on to explain that the artificial Intelligence deteriorates at the rate of time directly proportional to the quantity of the increase. Soon after he made this discovery Algernon becomes erratic and dies. Charlie realizes that his own mental deterioration is inevitable so he goes and visits his family. After his fast deterioration he couldn't bare everyone's pity and goes to the warren state home and takes training classes and in he last progress report reminded all his friends to not pity him and to put flowers on algernons small backyard grave.

Character Analysis

Charlie Gordon: Charlie Gordon is a thirty-two year old retarded man. He works at Donner's Bakery and attends reading classes at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults. Recognizing Charlie as a hard-working and his willingness to learn, doctors at Beekman College choose him for an experimental brain operation that raises his IQ of 68 to that of a genius. Charlie's intellectual progress is astounding he learns many diffrent languages and performs complex mathematical equations. This intelligence comes with a price. Charlie's stimulated memory allows him to recall painful abuse from family and friends. He becomes bitter, arrogant, and lonely, and his 'emotional retardation' interferes with his love for Alice Kinnian. Charlie discovers a flaw in the experiment and he realizes that his mental Deteriation is inevitable. With little time remaining, Charlie visits his estranged family and spends time with Alice. At the end, Charlie commits himself to the dismal Warren State Home and Training School

Conflict and Resoultion

The conflict in the book is charlies urning to be understood by society so he undergoes a surgery which presents problems of its own he becomes distand lonely and depressed unable to connect with real people and the haunting of his vivid imagination over time he realizes that his intellectual power is decreasing part of a flaw in the surgery and as a resololution he learns to accept the inevitable and meets up with family and his love Emily and then at the end he commits himself to the warren house and into training again were he accepts his inevitable fate.


The theme of the story is faith, the faith he puts in to the doctors to make him smart even though he doesn't see it at first he never gives up in trying to get smarter. Charlie before his IQ was raised put his faith in his lucky rabbit foot and horse shoe because even though he wasn't smart he still had faith in at least something and this continues through out the book he always had faith that everything would turn out fine and after all the people have done to him he still had faith in humanity and i think this also shows resilience that he never gave up in faith or in other people.

Textual evidence

"They had pretended to be geniuses. But they were just ordinary men working blindly, pretending to be able to bring light into the darkness. Why is it that everyone lies? No one I know is what he appears to be." PR 13, pg. 105.

To me this is a very important part in the book because he realizes that professor Nemur and Strauss are not what the appear to be and the people around him his so called friends are not what he thought either and it shows that he is changing emotionally he is becoming distant from society because of how he used to trust all people and now he cant even trust people he thought he knew.

Book Review

I give this book a four because it showed me on so many levels to except people for who they are and don't try to become something your not and don't force people to become something there not only to fit into society but be your own individual person because your amazing just the way you are.
Flowers for Algernon Trailer