Flowers for Algernon
Daniel Keyes was born August 9th, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York. He came from a small family that intended for him to become a doctor. After a traumatic experience in the U.S. Maritime Service he decided to pursue his dream to become a writer. In 1966 Mr. Keyes wrote his first novel, Flowers for Algernon, which won a HUGO (the Major award of the World Science Fiction Society). Flowers for Algernon is a multifaceted novel, with a consistent motif of loneliness and isolation. Charlie Gordon, a mentally challenged 32 year old man, is chosen by a team of scientists to undergo experimental brain surgery designed to boost his intelligence. Alice Kinnian, Charlie’s teacher at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults, has recommended Charlie for the experiment because of his exceptional eagerness to learn. After the surgery Charlie’s intelligence increases until he has the IQ of an exceptional genius. Soon after, his intellect gradually diminishes until he once again becomes mentally handicapped. The entire narrative of Flowers for Algernon is composed of the “progress reports” that Charlie was asked to keep by the directors of the experiment, Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur. Flowers for Algernon addresses important issues of loneliness and isolation. In the beginning of the story, Charlie senses that he doesn’t quite fit in with his peers. As he grows intellectually, he is able to see that he was continually ridiculed. As Charlie is being mistreated, the reader experiences his pain, and can’t help but become angry and wish misfortune to the thoughtless people that antagonize Charlie. The author persuasively demonstrates the isolation and agony created by the aggressors in the book, so we understand the necessity of treating all people equally, with respect. Flowers for Algernon was a phenomenal piece of literature that spoke deeply to me. The Vivid imagery and descriptive language made me feel that Charlie was speaking to me. I...
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