Charlie Gordon

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April 26, 2012

Should doctors and scientists tamper with intelligence?

In the novel “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, a group of scientists and doctors are experimenting with a process to improve human intelligence. Charlie Gordon a mentally challenged man is chosen to be the subject of the experiment. Charlie is motivated to become smart because he believes, “If your smart you can have lots of frends to talk to you and you never get lonely by yourself all the time” (p. 13). In the novel the experiment goes wrong and Charlie is left to suffer a lonely life in which he is worse off then before the experiment. The idea of man tampering with intelligence is not new to the world. We should not be tampering with the fundamentals of life. There are things we do not fully understand such as what constitutes a worthwhile existence, who should be trusted to make decisions about creating and changing life and how much should humans be altered in the pursuit of a perfect society. A meaningful life is not determined by intelligence. The mentally challenged Charlie Gordon shared the same body, the same soul and the same ambition as the genius Charlie; they are the same. It is important to remember that even as a mentally challenged person, Charlie was still a human being, and he had the right to be respected by others. In the book, it describes how discriminating we as a society are; we treat people with mental disabilities as inferiors. “How can I make him understand that he did not create me? He makes the same mistakes as others when they look at a feeble-minded person and laugh because they don’t understand there are human feelings involved. He doesn’t realize that I was a person before I came here” (p. 145). As a society we must learn to be tolerant of all individuals. A worthwhile existence is not measured by intelligence....
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