Flowers For Algernon

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Struggle of Intelligence in Flowers for Algernon “... the victories and defeats of life might link human beings in a similar way, if only we could learn mutual trust and respect despite our differences” (Brynie). Daniel Keyes’ novel, Flowers for Algernon, centers around the struggle of a mentally retarded man, Charlie Gordon. Charlie learns how unaccepting society is towards his disabilities when he gains intelligence through advanced technology. Published in 1966, Keyes writes about the consequences of technology in a time where technology is quickly developing. Daniel Keyes expresses the evolving abuse of technology through recurring themes, symbols, and morals that affect the main character Charlie Gordon. Charlie Gordon’s family and…show more content…
As Charlie gradually becomes smarter, he “finds pain in self-knowledge.” (Brynie). With his gain of intelligence, Charlie realizes that society does not treat him as well as he thought, and this discovery leads to much emotional pain. The experiment itself “...raises the question of whether or not scientific progress was achieved…” (Wroble). This idea emphasizes the abuse of science and technology in the novel that develops when the experiment concludes with Charlie deteriorating back to his original state due to unfinished research. “... humans should not try to attain knowledge, but rather that they should be conscious of the limitations of a purely intellectual approach to life.” (Telgen). Furthermore, this criticism reflects the boundaries of knowledge and intelligence Keyes explores, making a point against the abuse of science. Speaking out against the abuse of science in Flowers for Algernon is Fanny Girden, one of Charlie’s coworkers. “... she whispered: ‘It was evil when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge. It was evil when they saw they was naked, and learned about lust and shame… If not for that none of us would have to grow old and be sick and die.’” (Keyes 107). Including Fanny’s views is important because she emphasizes the unnatural side of the experiment and the effects from abnormally gaining knowledge by referencing The Bible as a parallel. These morals reflect the process that drives Charlie’s struggle to understand himself and the world around him as he becomes more
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