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Recently our class read the short story Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon is about a man called Charlie, he is 37 and lives in New York, America. He attends adult night school because he isn’t very bright but wants to become clever. His teacher Miss Kinnian puts Charlie’s name forward for an experimental operation that should make him very clever. He was given a number of tasks to complete to check that he was suitable, including racing around a maze with a white mouse called Algernon that had already had the operation, Charlie was getting very annoyed as the mouse beat him every time.

When Charlie had been accepted as the person to become “the human guinea pig” he was asked to start writing a progress report just like a diary. As the days and weeks went on after Charlie had had his operation you began to notice Charlie’s vast improvement, his punctuation, spelling and overall awareness were very noticeable to the readers. But Algernon’s health began to decline rapidly and soon he died. This almost certainly meant that the same outcome would happen to Charlie who was losing his intelligence and memory very quickly. The story ends without us actually knowing what happened to Charlie but my conclusion would be that he died.

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The story raised many themes, the first one is happy, I don’t believe that Charlie was ever happy. When he wasn’t very clever he wanted to be smart but after the operation, he discovered his workmates (who he believed were his friends) were really laughing at him behind his back. He also discovered that he had feelings for his teacher Miss Kinnian. I think Charlie deserved more respect than he got the doctors were patronizing whenever they talked to him. The way his workmates treated him to was really unfair they got him to do all their horrible jobs but Charlie didn’t realize because he was so na�ve. The story also raises some questions widely debated in everyday life.

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Could the scientists be accused of playing God by trying to improve Charlie’s IQ? I don’t believe that scientists and doctors should be trying to experiment with humans unless it’s a life-threatening problem. Does society mistreat people who are “different”? I believe that there are some people who are discriminated against because of unimportant little differences but I don’t think its fair they are as normal as everyone else.

The main character in the story ‘Flowers for Algernon’ is Charlie. Charlie has grown up his whole life not being too clever and its one of his dreams to become smart, he jumps at the chance to have the operation even though he doesn’t really understand what the doctors are telling him. Before the operation Charlie was asked to complete some tasks, one was to race Algernon around a maze. Charlie got very annoyed and upset as the mouse beat him every time then after the operation he beat Algernon he was so happy. Charlie becomes clever after the operation and you can see a big improvement in the spelling and punctuation of his progress reports, as he gets smarter he realizes what a harsh world it is as his friends don’t actually care for him and he has no family.

At the end of the story as Charlie’s health declines, he decides that he has some pride and leaves New York before he gets so ill that he will need to be cared for. He didn’t want to be known as the man who was a genius but lost it all and became stupid again. He did ask one thing to be done for him before he left, for someone to put flowers on Algernon’s grave. We learnt a wee bit about the doctors who performed the operation on Charlie. Dr. Nemur was the high flyer he wanted to become a very famous Doctor, his wife also put a lot of pressure on him to get well known. Dr. Strauss cared about Charlie more after the operation he came to Charlie’s home to check and make sure he was all right.

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The story was written very well Daniel Keyes wrote it as if it was Charlie keeping a diary. It let the readers visualize how Charlie is at the start and how he improves after the operation because Daniel Keyes has made very obvious spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. We see how Charlie’s awareness improves and he realizes how na�ve he’s been in the past.

The story ‘Flowers for Algernon’ made me think how narrow-minded people can be, there are a lot of people like Charlie who are mistreated just because they are not as clever as the average person. I felt really sorry for Charlie moving away and not having anyone close enough to stay with. I did enjoy the story but I don’t think that it ended well I think it should have ended with us knowing what happened to Charlie.

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Recently our class read the short story Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. (2021, Sep 25). Retrieved August 8, 2022, from