Transformation of a Lifetime

By Roshini Balan

Who is Charlie Gordon?

Charlie Gordon was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease phenylketonuria at a young age, and has suffered immensely from it since. He has been restricted from forming basic relationships, been treated as an outcast wherever he goes, and even abandoned by his very own flesh and blood; his family. He lived a sad, shameful existence, barely understanding what was going around in the world around him, and not participating in the experiences that make up the childhood of a common kid, duration of time spent as a teenager, or adulthood. To quote one of the key roles in his quest to advance his intellectually challenged mind, Professor Nemur states that, "It could be said that Charlie Gordon did not really exist before the experiment".

Why did Charlie make the decision for the operation to be performed?

Charlie decided to have the operation performed to please a woman named Alice Kinnian, a teacher and instructor for Charlie at the Beekman College's Center for Retarded Adults. Alice Kinnian shows a unique amount of faith in Charlie, and when asked to speak, demonstrated a strong interest in Charlie's progress and well being from the moment she started to speak.

What does Charlie plan to use his newfound intelligence for?

Charlie wanted to be able to "read and write"; basically he was interested in gaining literacy. He wanted to be able to be smart, to do the things everyone else can do, and to have fun with his friends, just as a smart, new man. Charlie wants to be able to prove to the world that he can do the same things that others can, and no longer will he need extra time to complete a task or learn an operation; he'll be able to do it just as quick as anyone else.