There is an important theme in the story Flowers for Algernon By Daniel Keyes. It is a fiction novel about a thirty year old man who has been battling to overcome an intellectual deficit all of his life and has an opportunity to become more intelligent than he ever had imagined through an experimental operation. He takes the opportunity and in a few weeks he becomes a genius for a short time before his itelligence receded as fast as it increased. The author includes many important themes throughout the passage. Daniel Keyes develops the theme that intelligence doesn’t affect who you truly are through Charlie’s experiences both before and after the operation.
These “idiots” are pressured to believe that intelligence is the key to success and happiness, never aware of the sorrows and despairs that a high intellect brings. One of these people is Charlie Gordon. In the short story “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, Charlie is a 37 year old man with an IQ of 68 who has always wanted to be smart his entire life. When Charlie is referred for an operation that might make him smart, Charlie jumps at the opportunity.
Charlie is not able to comprehend things like other people in his age group also. Charlie works at a factory with his friends making bread. If Charlie could have any chance of becoming smarter he would take it in a heartbeat, and that’s exactly what he did. When Charlie begins to gain more intelligence, more than an average person, he learns that intelligence won’t solve everything. Charlie can’t choose if he is smart or not, it’s not his decision he finds out later in the book.
In Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled man, is transformed and made intelligent through surgery. As the story develops the reader notices changes and new hardships that Charlie begins to face as a result of the life changing operation. In our society intelligence is seen as the golden ticket to every opportunity imaginable. What people fail to realize though is that it is not through easy access that intelligence is acquired but by experiencing and learning new ideas. Keyes, makes an absolute statement about the role of intelligence in human life, by showing that having immense intelligence is not always ideal because it forces one to realize not only how different they are from others in their society, but also how they are expected to behave with this intelligence.
“A little learning is a dangerous thing, but a lot of ignorance is just as bad.” This quote, by famous journalist and radio host Bob Edwards, encompasses a question that haunts readers throughout the writing of Flowers for Algernon. Flowers for Algernon, a short story by Daniel Keyes, is about a man named Charlie who is mentally dull, and undergoes an operation in an attempt to surgically alter his brain to triple his I.Q. The former quote brings up the topic of how Intelligence and Ignorance are both dangerous in different ways, and though having abundant intelligence may seem like a dream, perhaps it isn't as wonderful as one may think. After all, those with ignorance, the naive, are often the most blissful, while geniuses may experience
Daniel Keyes once stated that “I’ve learned that intelligence alone doesn’t mean a damn thing. It only leads to violence and pain” (Langer ¶ 26). This quote is derived from his novel Flowers for Algernon, which exposes society’s harsh attitudes toward the cognitively impaired. Daniel Keyes published his novels in the mid 1900s when psychological advancements were at a peak and the civil rights movement caused not only an awareness to the lives of African Americans, but also called attention to equal treatment for all (Hill 5). Within Flowers for Algernon and his other works, Daniel Keyes emphasizes awareness for the cognitively impaired using first person narration, pulling experiences from his life, and using his education in psychology to
And he hasn 't been eating. Everyone is upset about what this may mean.” (Daniel Keyes 216). This shows that despite his other more calm behavior, Algernon is becoming more and more violent, which later affects Charlie due to how closely linked Charlie and Algernon are because of their search for greater intelligence, as shown in the journal entry written by Charlie on May 25th. “ Everyone identifies me with Algernon. In a way we 're both the first of our kind.” (Daniel Keyes 217).
He lost the race and kept losing and had become angry. In the movie Charlie races algernon and becomes very upset due to him losing constantly. In the text Charlie takes classes in Mrs. Kinnean’s class. In the movie Charlie takes the same class with the same people everyday and his teacher is Mrs. Kinnean. In the text Charlie becomes smart at a fast rate and started losing friends because of it.
To prove my point, let’s look on progress report 9- April 6: “I beat Algernon!” Well, this shows an example of change because that was the first time he has ever beat Algernon, his mouse-partner. That evidence displays Charlie’s type of trait, he does contribute to the society by showing that the surgery does work (after a few days). A point to show that Charlie Gordon’s identity, while he has a high IQ, still does help the society is found in progress report 11- July 4: “I am sending you a copy of my report entitled, “The Algernon-Gordon Effect: A Study of Structure and Function of Increased Intelligence.” This evidence reveals that Charlie is really sad about Algernon’s death and writes a report of all their experiences, battles and their friendship, which gives the society/other people the opportunity to read the story. Again, these traits show that Charlie does contribute to the society. [Maybe add that people can learn about the experiment from this study.]
Flowers for Algernon is a story that proves that one who changes themself for someone else, will only make their life worse. In various journal entries, Daniel Keyes wrote in the point of view of the main character, Charlie Gordon, to show the thought process behind his actions to change himself. It goes through the process in which Charlie undergoes experimental brain surgery to become intelligent and raise his IQ by 300 percent. In Flowers For Algernon, Daniel Keyes presents the idea that one should always stay true to one’s self, no matter how difficult life can get because the critics in the world will never be satisfied for who someone truly is. No matter what his IQ was, Charlie’s coworkers never appreciated him for who he was.