Book to Film - Flowers for Algernon

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Books to Film Essay - Flowers for Algernon

Does your IQ have anything to do with your number of friends? This is a key question explored in Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keys, as Charlie, the main character, investigates his relationships between friends and family. The characters and their reactions are a very important part of this tragic, brilliant, and heart warming novel about an experiment gone wrong. As Charlie’s IQ fluctuates, he learns that he still has problems in life, even though he is smart, a conclusion he doubted he would come to. Flowers for Algernon follows Charlie’s thought stream as he explores the world and the people of the smart. Although Ralph Nelson’s movie version of Flowers for Algernon fully tells the core of the story and builds up on some of the major characters, the book gives it another dimension as it further explores and describes the characters and their worlds, which is what makes it so fantastic.

Ralph Nelson’s version of Flowers for Algernon lacks some important scenes, but Nelson really focuses on and adds some scenes to emphasize Charlie’s interactions and relationships with the other major characters in the book. Nelson builds up the characters more than Daniel Keys does in his book. For instance, there is a scene when Charlie and Alice, the love of Charlie’s life, meet up in the park when Charlie is on his downward streak, Charlie tells Alice to leave him, since he will soon not even remember who she was. This scene is not in the book. This scene really shows how much Charlie cares for Alice and how determined Alice is to keep Charlie hers and alive. This is an example of where Nelson added a scene to enhance the relationship between the reader, Charlie, and Alice and make the movie just that much more tragic. Nelson also expands and inflates Alice’s anger with Charlie in the scene in the classroom. This adds to the emotional stress of the movie and makes you feel bad for the two of them, enlarging your bond with...
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