Charlie Gordon In Daniel Keyes 'Flowers For Algernon'

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“Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men.” This is the situation for the main character in Daniel Keyes’ scientific fiction short story, “Flowers for Algernon”, Charlie Gordon. Charlie, a man with an I.Q. score of 68, wants to be smart like everyone else. When he is selected for an operation that can triple is I.Q., Charlie is happy to be Dr. Nemur and Dr. Strauss’ test subject. Despite the risks, Charlie Gordon has his intelligence increased, but later suffers from deterioration of his intelligence, amnesia, and senility. Since Charlie was mentally handicapped and naive, should he had been chosen to get the operation with the known risks? After the multiple benefits he has gained from the operation, Charlie was right to have…show more content…
Dr. Nemur and Dr. Strauss gave Charlie a new beginning to see the world with new eyes and explore and learn about its wonders. He is able to do much more and see through the fog he had before the operation. Charlie describes his new intelligence as he says, “I like to look up all the hard words in the dictionary and I remember them.” (Keyes 293). Charlie has not only gotten smarter, he is becoming more mature and emotionally aware. He is more emotionally able to read people’s body language and how they are treating him, like when understands his friends. Charlie realizes, Joe and Frank’s intentions, “It’s a funny thing I never knew that Joe and Frank and the others liked to have me around all the time to make fun of me.” (Keyes 293). Comparatively, Charlie has transformed from an oblivious mentally handicapped man, to one that is learning more about things around him. At the end of Charlie’s incline of intelligence he becomes paranoid and suspicious like when he examined Dr. Nemur and Dr. Strauss’ credentials and morals. Charlie examines their credentials as such, “I believe that Dr. Nemur was afraid of further delay because he was worried someone else might make a discovery along these lines and take the credit from him. Dr. Strauss on the other hand might be called a genius, although I feel that his areas of knowledge are too limited.” (Keyes 297). Even if Charlie was suspicious and paranoid, seeing the world greatly impacted him because through his experiences he realized how he was previously, before the surgery. One of his experiences was at a diner where a mentally handicapped boy worked. He dropped and broke a plate and then was ridiculed by the customers. Charlie’s reaction was explosive as he defended the boy and his later thoughts are, “How strange it is that people of honest feelings and
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