Ethics And Self-Improvement In Flowers For Algernon By Daniel Keyes

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People should always take a risk to improve themselves especially if there is nothing to lose. “Flowers for Algernon” is a unique short story about ethics and self-improvement written by Daniel Keyes. The main character, Charles Gordon has a low IQ, but goes through some surgery to have his IQ increase three times. Readers experience his mental change through his many progress reports and can read about how his intelligence rapidly spikes at an alarming rate. After his IQ level reached the peak, it decreased as quickly as it increased. Charlie’s grammar, use of punctuation, and vocabulary was drastically different in the beginning, middle and end of the short story. Many people to this day still wonder if Charlie made the right ethical decision…show more content…
For example, in the beginning of the story, Charlie did not know what it meant to pull a Charlie Gordon and wrote, “Sometimes somebody will say hey look at Joe or Frank or George he really pulled a Charlie Gordon. I dont know why they say that but they always laff. This morning Amos Borg who is the 4 man at Donnegans used my name when he shouted at Ernie the office boy. Ernie lost a packige. He said Ernie for godsake what are you trying to be a Charlie Gordon. I dont understand why he said that [sic],” (Keyes 6). This shows the lack of social understanding that Charlie had at the beginning of the story. He often thought his friends were genuinely nice to him, and that they were laughing with him, not at him. This was clearly a misconception when he found out what it meant to “pull a Charlie Gordon”. During the period of time when Charlie was becoming smarter, he was embarrassed by a couple of friends while he was at a party and wrote, “Now I know what it means when they say ‘to pull a Charlie Gordon.’ I’m ashamed,” (Keyes 11). This was a little while before Charlie reached the peak of his intelligence, but it says a lot about how his social skills improved greatly. At the very end of the story, Charlie accidentally goes back to Miss Kinnian’s class at the adult center because he forgot that he did not attend her class anymore.

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