Flowers For Algernon

Summary

Charlie Gordon, a mentally retarded thirty-two-year-old man, is chosen by a team of scientists to undergo an experimental surgery designed to boost his intelligence. Alice Kinnian, Charlie’s teacher at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults, has recommended Charlie for the experiment because of his exceptional eagerness to learn. The directors of the experiment, Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur, ask Charlie to keep a journal. The entire narrative of Flowers for Algernon is composed of the “progress reports” that Charlie writes.

Character Analysis

Charlie Gordon - The protagonist and author of the progress reports that form the text of Flowers for Algernon. Charlie is a thirty-two-year-old mentally retarded man who lives in New York City. At the start of the novel, he works at Donner’s Bakery as a janitor and delivery boy. Charlie’s friendliness and eagerness to please, along with his childhood feelings of inadequacy, make him the hardest-working student in Alice Kinnian’s literacy class for retarded adults. When Charlie undergoes an experimental surgery to increase his intelligence, his IQ skyrockets to the level of a genius.
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Conflict

Man vs. Society YOU'RE FIRED Charlie wasn't accepted

by the people around him

and ends up losing his job

Rating

I give this book a 3 out of 5 because the narrative was cold, abrupt and unconvincing most of the time. The only time it was convincing was when Gordon was retarded, struggling first to become smart, and at the end to make peace and it was so warm, you could not but love the kind man trying to be liked.

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Theme

One of the themes in that book is to accept people for the way they are, and to try to help them in any way you can without trying to make them different than who they naturally are.
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