Foreshadowing In Flowers For Algernon

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Everybody seeks wisdom, but can achieving it really be that easy? The story Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes, unravels the tragic tale of subterfuge and a fleeting grasp at a second chance at intelligence. The protagonist, an outcast named Charlie Gordon, seeks to have his IQ of sixty-eight raised. Several friends entice him to undergo surgery to triple his IQ, at long last releasing years of social stigma and satiating his lifelong dream of being able to learn and read. Charlie’s intelligence is artificially increased, but it proves to have consequences of its own. In Flowers for Algernon, the doctors made an unethical, poorly thought out choice by choosing Charlie for the intelligence-altering surgery.
First and foremost, the effects
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As his intelligence degenerates, Charlie records, “Deterioration progressing. I have become absent-minded. Algernon died two days ago” (Keyes 205). This event is a foreshadowing of Charlie’s presumed death, as they received the same operation, and therefore should have the same symptoms. Once his intelligence finishes diminishing, Charlie writes his final progress report, saying “I dont want Miss Kinnian to feel sorry for me. Evry body feels sorry at the factery and I dont want that eather” (Keyes 209). Unknown to Charlie, many of his coworkers and friends had already reached the conclusion that he would ineluctably die. Not wanting them to feel guilty for him, he moves to a different city in hopes of new beginnings and never saw them again. Some may discredit this point by stating that Charlie’s surgery would improve future scientific understanding. Nonetheless, the ethics behind this decision remain questionable. On the topic of treatment of human test subjects, the article “Ethics of Fieldwork” states, “Special care must be taken with people who are unable to understand or who are particularly susceptible to coercion.” These precautions were not exercised with Charlie, which many would believe to be
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