Charlie Gordon's Flowers For Algernon

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Flowers for Algernon is a heartfelt novel written in 1959 about a man named Charlie Gordon, and a mouse named Algernon. Charlie has the IQ of 68, which is in the cut-off to be considered mentally disabled or “retarded.””. When doctors are in search of a participant for an operation to test the possibility of growth in intelligence, Charlie is the perfect candidate. Along with Charlie receiving this operation, the mouse Algernon receives it as well. Algernon not only becomes competition for Charlie, but he also becomes a loyal friend. The operation goes as foreseen, if not better for both Charlie and Algernon. Charlie soon becomes more intelligent than the doctors that performed the operation. His belief is that once he becomes smarter, his …show more content…

Since Charlie had such a low IQ, the smallest thing, such as a mouse, could be seen as life changing for him. He had such a firm attachment with Algernon and considered him to be a friend and competition. Charlie's IQ enabled him to be incapable of making decisions that the “normal” person could placing him at a disadvantage for social situations. "The author (Keyes) refers to (Charlie) as ‘the Wedge of Loneliness…’” (Ickles-Dunbar 1). Charlie is alone because nobody else around him can relate on the same level of intelligence, and also others don’t want to be friends with someone who appears to be different. Charlie is, "...a man who desperately wants to be like others in the hope that he will have friends and be able to participate fully in the social world...." (Ickles-Dunbar 1). This is Charlie and truthfully everybody's hope; to fit in. Charlie just wants people to like him, and since he doesn’t understand the social norms, it’s hard for others to accept the way he is. "Twice he mentions that his motivation for the experiment is that ‘I just want to be smart like other people so I can have lots of friends who like me’ (13)... (Cline 2)." Charlie doesn’t understand that the true purpose of the experiment was to see if it was possible to increase the intelligence of someone who would be optimistic about their low IQ. Charlie obviously didn’t comprehend the …show more content…

Charlie’s intelligence/ mental disability wasn’t the enemy of Flowers for Algernon. People were quick to judge Charlie and treated him differently after the operation making him “smart”. Through the "Mental Retardation Amendments of 1967" Mr. Hill writes, "The burden of mental retardation afflicts over 6 million Americans..." (2). The first part of that statement makes it seem as though mental disabilities are an issue and so are the people with them. People didn’t want to deal with the burden of Charlie by giving him a real job because they knew he’d fail and mess it up. Mr Hill also says, "Mentally retarded children can be educated to be useful citizens..." (18). This can relate back to Charlie and the lack of respect received because of his “title” at the bakery. It is mentioned that,"...the world presents a lot of chaos for these children..."(Nason 143). With this being said, people in the current society are finally starting to open their eyes and realize the real struggles of these humans. In McGovern’s article "Beyond the Magically (Dis) Abled" she brings up the point

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