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Flowers For Algernon

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The novel Flowers for Algernon, written by Daniel Keyes, is a well-written story depicting a retarded adult's struggle to be accepted by society. The story is written in progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, our main character. Charlie is a mentally-retarded adult that is chosen to take part in an experiment never done before on a human. The experiment is a brain operation that will make Charlie smarter. In preparation for the operation, Charlie is tested with a mouse that has been operated on, Algernon. Charlie works at Donner's Bakery, where he is a janitor. The workers taunt him and gibe him, but he is unable to comprehend the jokes and thinks they are his friends.

The operation on Charlie is successful. He comes out alive and well, and though his results are not instantaneous, his knowledge in grammar and spelling improve with help from his teacher Miss Kinnian. Charlie begins to read and eventually begins to get very intelligent in a short amount of time. Professor Nemur and Doctor Strauss take Charlie and Algernon to a scientific convention where they are the “main attraction”. Angered by this, Charlie takes Algernon and escapes. He gets his own place in New York so that he cannot be found. Charlie discovers a flaw in the experiment and figures that his intelligence gain will only be temporary. As he watches Algernon's intelligence continue to lessen, he only anticipates his own intelligence to decrease.

Algernon eventually dies, and Charlie has a brief relationship with Miss Kinnian. As he gets less smart, he begins to slowly slip into his old life; he goes back to the bakery and gets his job back, and he checks himself into a home for disabled adults.



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