Flowers For Algernon Essay, Research Paper
Scientists are always trying to better mankind. The words constantly heard these days are genetic testing, cloning, DNA and genetic engineering. Since this was first published in 1959, different methods were being explored to improve humans. The book is entitled Flowers for Algernon , it is an exciting science fiction novel written by Daniel Keyes. This novel deals with surgical and chemical means to try to increase a retarded man’s IQ so that he is no longer mentally deficient.
The main characters of the story are Charlie, who is a mentally retarded person involved in a remarkable experiment which increased his I.Q. Alice, a teacher at the Adult Basic Education Facility at Beekman College who taught Charlie how to read and write, the professors who operated on Charlie. Fay a character who did not make much of an appearance, but in my eyes, she played an important part in Charlie trying to sort out his past and figure out his present and future plans, and last but not least Algernon.
The novel is exciting and has an original idea. The moods that I felt in the story are ones of sorrow, anger, and guilt. One of the elements of the story that greatly contributes to the mood the reader experiences would be the plot of the story. In the story, Charlie, is the subject of an experiment, which increases his intelligence. Charlie originally wants the operation to make him intelligent so that he can make friends. Unfortunately some of his hopes were not met.
Charlie is a mentally retarded person who has impressing people and gaining friends as one of his top priorities. He then hears of an experiment, which could possibly make him smart. He makes himself a subject to this human experiment with the hopes of gaining knowledge in a sole purpose of gaining friends. As the book progresses, Charlie goes through dramatic changes mentally, and instead of making him gain friends he actually is looked on in the same way if not worse. For example, at Charlie’s old work his “friends” made fun of him and enjoyed his company just because Charlie had amused them. Yet after the operation, Charlie finds out that he had not made his friends like him more, but had pushed them away. Charlie understood now what his friends did to him in the past, and starts to look down upon them. Alice, Charlie’s teacher, is the person who gave Charlie to the idea to give the experiment a chance. She thinks that Charlie has the determination and will power to make the experiment work. She then, later on the book, gets emotionally involved with Charlie and helps Charlie learn more about himself. Algernon is a lab animal that also had the experiment done on him and as result makes him smarter than the average mouse. Algernon also plays a very important part in the novel because he represents Charlie and foreshadows what will happen to Charlie later on the book. Fay, is an artist who has strange views on life which can be rarely found in an individual. As the book goes on, Fay helps Charlie reveal his physical and emotional capabilities.
There are many exciting parts which occur in the book, yet one however, in my opinion proved to be the most memorable would probably be when he had been trying to find what had gone wrong in the experiment before the inevitable happened to him. After he had found out what had gone wrong he started to slow down again, and he tried to speed up but he was slowing down. It was like he was starting to descend down the escalator of intelligence and trying to make several desperate attempts to try and walk up an escalator going down.
Readers are made clearly aware of the tragic arc from the start. The sense of impending doom makes Charlie’s achievements all the sweeter, as he begins to put together the pieces of his former life. At the very moment that his essential nature emerges, as he defends a mentally retarded boy from a laughing crowd and resolves to use his new intelligence to contribute to human knowledge, Algernon bites him. He dies.
Human beings have a finite life span, and part of being human is having to contend with the loss of abilities toward the end. Charlie’s time in the sun is brief, and, like an Alzheimer’s sufferer, his grieving scarcely fades even when he can no longer comprehend his losses. He is not able to accept the new, sincere friendship and protectiveness shown by his factory friends he thinks they’re sorry for him and feels shame. Yet he intends to start a new life, and keep trying to learn. His determination exemplifies the intrepidity and resilience of the human spirit
The only thing that I do not agree with is how the book concludes. The conclusion of the book in my eyes leaves the reader hanging like… this. If I would make a change I would write about what happened after Charlie Gordon s death. An example of this would be a possible progress and success in the field, or maybe because of the events which had occurred in the past in this field, it was given up for dead, or maybe Fay or Alice had conceived a child and grew older had pursued his/her father s theory/discovery which in turn leads into a sequel. If anyone were to ask me if they should read Flowers For Algernon, I would regard it as an excellent book to read because it makes the reader think of how a mentally retarded person feels, and maybe will show us a new respect for them. This book has made me realize just how much more determination a mentally retarded person could possibly have, and makes me realize just how lucky I am
I really hope people that read this story will develop a sense of respect for the retarded.