Flowers for Algernon

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‘’This intelligence has driven a wedge between me and all the people I once knew and loved.’’ This is what Charlie Gordon, a 37 year old man with an IQ of 204, says in Daniel Keyes’s short story ‘’Flowers for Algernon’’. Charlie is a mentally impaired man who wants to be smart and is keen to learn. So when an operation that promises to triple his intelligence is offered to Charlie, overjoyed, he accepts. As he grows more and more intelligent, Charlie realizes that his “friends” only keep him around to make fun of him. Soon, Charlie starts to go back to his original state of intelligence and is depressed. In my opinion, it was a mistake for Charlie to receive the operation. Because of it, Charlie is extremely lonely, and has lost both his home and life.

First, Charlie is lonely and stressed. Once Charlie’s intelligence started to increase, he realizes that his ‘’friends” consistently mock him. His co-workers play tricks on him, such as giving him Coke mixed with alcohol. Charlie thought his life would be normal once he became smart, but nothing got better. Once Charlie’s co-workers saw his change in intelligence, they started to fear him. Because of his new IQ, they all signed a petition to fire Charlie. “They’ve driven me out of the factory. Now I’m more alone than ever before.” The operation most certainly did not help Charlie make new friends. Furthermore, once Charlie’s IQ begins to drop, he is unable to pay his property owner and now has no home. As he regresses, Charlie goes without human contact for a long time. He Gong 2

tries to read the books he once loved, but is unable to. Charlie finds that he cannot read German, or any of the other languages he recently studied. When everyone around him begins to pity Charlie because of his regression, he feels annoyed. Unable to deal with everyone’s sympathy, Charlie decides to leave New York. “Im going someplace where nobody knows that Charlie Gordon was a genus.” Despite not know what he’ll do for the rest of...
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