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Flower's for Algernon

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 07:23 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.3 
  • Words: 428
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Flowers for Algernon is a science-fiction novel written by Daniel Keyes. Keyes was born August 9, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York. The book was first published in 1966.

Flowers for Algernon is about Charlie Gordon, a mentally retarded adult who has his intelligence increased by experimental surgery. Through the progress reports he is assigned to write, the scientists could monitor the surgery’s outcome. His IQ is taken from a mere 68 to a brilliant 185. He understands that being smart does not make him happy, and he becomes emotionally scarred, realizing how his family and co-workers were so crude to him when he was retarded. Finding out the surgery was going to fail, Charlie became frustrated and fearful because he wanted to hold on to his new self, even though he knew he could not.

One major theme of this book is the abuse of the disabled. After Charlie became a genius, he realized the way people mistreated him. He saw how they treated him less then human. While in a diner, a mentally retarded busboy dropped some plates. All the people in the diner were laughing at him, including Charlie. But then Charlie became mad at himself and shouted at them for their cruelness.

The main character of the book is Charlie Gordon. He goes from being a mentally retarded adult to a genius after undergoing experimental surgery. Alice Kinnian was Charlie’s teacher who recommended Charlie for the experimental surgery. Algernon was the lab rat that underwent the same surgery Charlie did. Other characters in the book include Professor Nemur, Dr. Strauss, Fay Lillman, Rose and Matt Gordon, Norma Gordon, and the men at the bakery. There are a few major symbols in the book. Algernon represents what will happen to Charlie. His progress shows Charlie’s future. In many of Charlie’s flashbacks to his childhood, he is looking through the window of his apartment, watching the normal kids play. The window represents the wall and everything that keeps Charlie from...


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