Flowers for Algernon

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Flowers for Algernon Summer Reading Book Report

2. Daniel Keys.

3. Novel

4. The setting of the story is New York City, while one chapter takes place in Chicago. There is no text that gives an exact date that the novel takes place but can guess it is around the 1960s, when Keyes wrote the book. The setting does not have a large impact on the book except when Charlie takes Algernon and is forced to hide in the crowded, urban city of New York.

5. The plot of the novel starts off with Charlie Gordon being a thirty-two year old man with mental retardation, is chosen to undergo a scientific surgery designed to boost his IQ. Charlie is recommended to have the surgery by his teacher at Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults, Alice Kinnian, because of his passion and eagerness to learn. Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur, the directors of the procedure, ask Charlie to keep a journal of his emotions and changes as the procedure beings to change him. The entire book is composed of Charlie’s ‘progress reports’ that he writes. Charlie works at Donner’s bakery in New York City as a janitor and delivery boy and is constantly picked on for his mental issues. Charlie is led to believe that his co-workers are his friends and is unable to comprehend that they are taking advantage of him and making fun of him. After Charlie goes through a series of tests with a mouse by the name of Algernon, Charlie undergoes the surgery. He is let down by the fact that there is no immediate results in his knowledge, but along with help from Alice his spelling and grammar slowly improves. Charlie then begins to read adult literature and his learning pace quickly speeds up and amazes his co-workers at the bakery. Charlie also begins to remember memories from his childhood that he had forgotten before the procedure. As Charlie’s intelligence begins to increase, he begins to realize how deeply attracted to Alice he is. Alice insists on keeping their relationship professional but Charlie disagrees and his feelings only grow stronger. Charlie is soon let go from the bakery because he was freighting his co-workers in the sudden changes in his behavior and also because Donner sees that Charlie no longer needs the charity work. As time goes on Charlie grows an even bigger attraction for Alice but whenever the mood gets too intimate he experiences fear and panic and feels as if his pre-operation self is watching him. Charlie soon recovers memory’s of his mother beating for him for any sexual impulses which makes him realize his past traumas make it very unlikely he will ever be able to make love to Alice. Later on, Dr. Strauss and professor Nemur take Charlie to a convention in Chicago. But Charlie gets annoyed when he sees that Dr. Strauss doesn’t see him like a regular human being but an animal or experiment so he takes Algernon and sets of into the city and gets an apartment so they scientists cannot find him. This leads to Charlie meeting his free-spirited neighbor, Fay Lilliman. Charlie decides to keep his past a secret from Fay, allowing him to have a sexual relationship with him. But soon after he grows close with Fay, he returns back to the lab and he drifts away from Fay. When he returns to the lab Algernon’s intelligence begins to weaken and his behavior becomes down hill. This brings Charlie to thoughts that the same might happen to him. Eventually Algernon dies and Charlie soon begins to feel his personal intelligence to weaken as well. To come to terms with his past, Charlie takes a trip to visit his mother and sister. He finds the trip devastating, exciting and inspirational. He discovers his mother old, demented, but so overjoyed by all Charlie’s great accomplishments. His sister is also ecstatic to see Charlie. Although, Rode suddenly sinks into a delusional flashback and attempts to attack Charlie with a butcher knife. This leads to Charlie leaving sobbing but feels that in order to become a regular individual he must overcome...
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