Charlie Gordon Genius

Good Essays
Charlie Gordon: A Genius or a Dunce? If you had the chance to increase your intelligence and take the risk of any side effects, would you do it? In Flowers For Algernon, a short story by Daniel Keyes, Charlie Gordon most definitely would. Charlie Gordon is a middle-aged man who has an IQ of 68 but loves to learn. When he is asked to be part of an experiment that could make him smarter, he agrees, not knowing that the effects will wear off after a while. He also has a possibility to die of a brain disease after the experiment, which leads us to a question: Was Charlie better off before or after the experiment? While some might say that Charlie got to experience what being smart was like, the answer is clear: Charlie was better before the experiment…show more content…
Before the operation, he was not that smart, as he states: “Miss Kinnian says maybe they can make me smart. I want to be smart” (Keyes, 285). However, he could still learn more through Miss Kinnian’s Adult School. Like Algernon the mouse, Charlie could die of the side effects of increasing human intelligence. It did make him smart for a short period of time, but it eventually wore off and led to problems that Charlie did not have before. On June 10th, Charlie writes, “... Algernon died two days ago … His brain had decreased in weight” (Keyes, 302) and “Motor activity impaired. I keep tripping over things” (Keyes, 303). After Algernon’s death and autopsy, it reveals that his brain had shrunk and smoothed out. Charlie doesn’t want that to happen to him, but he knows it is inevitable. It is very hard to live with forgetfulness, impaired motor activity, depression, and a low IQ without any help. He has to go through the pain of knowing that the temporary intelligence he had received was all going to leave him. Charlie also does not have a stable income so it would be hard for him to learn more through an adult school like Miss Kinnian’s. By comparing Charlie’s mental state before and after the experiment, one can easily see that he was much more mentally stable before the…show more content…
Im glad I got a second chanse to be smart becaus I lerned a lot of things that I never even new were in this world and Im grateful that I saw it all for a littel bit” (Keyes, 305). On the contrary, Charlie does not truly show that he is glad he got to be smart, as stated on July 28, the same day: “That’s why Im going away from New York for good … Im going someplace where nobody knows that Charlie Gordon was once a genus and now he cant even reed a book or rite good” (Keyes, 305). Although he did mention that he was grateful that he got to be smart for a little while, he is so ashamed he does not want to see any of his friends. He thinks they will laugh at him and make fun of him like before. He is telling Miss Kinnian that everything is good, but when you really analyze the text, Charlie is only doing that so she will feel better. Another example of how he does not truly show that he’s glad he got to be smart is in his progress report on July 24th: “I dont know any work but the job I used to have at Donnegans Plastic Box Company. I dont want to go back there because they all knew me when I was smart and maybe theyll laugh at me” (Keyes, 304). Again, with evidence from his previous progress reports, his note to Miss Kinnian was just a facade, merely trying to make her believe that he was fine. This is significant because Charlie seems to have lost his confidence in
Get Access