Flowers for Algernon: Science as a Method of Life Enhancement

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In both Flowers for Algernon and The Awakening, the main characters go through a process in order to better their quality of life. In Flowers for Algernon, Charlie Gordon undergoes a procedure to triple his intelligence level. Charlie is elated to be the subject of this medical experiment. He can’t wait to finally be smart. In The Awakening, Leonard Lowe is administered a large dose of medicine (L-DOPA) in hopes of bringing him out of his catatonic state. In both circumstances, the results of the scientific process last for only a very short time before the character returns to his original state. However the brief moment of pure happiness outweighs the crash that eventually follows.

One advantage of experimental procedures is that regardless of what happens, the results of the procedure will allow the community to gain knowledge in science. In science, a failure is just as important as a success. A failure allows scientists to understand the flaw in the operation, and in turn they can work towards a success. In The Awakening, Charlie’s operation, although it ends up in failure, allows Dr. Strauss and Dr. Nemur to evaluate the flaws in the science. They find that the results of the operation are temporary, and Charlie will return to his original state. However they also learn of the problems with this procedure and can improve it. Because of this gained knowledge, they will be one step closer to succeeding. In Leonard Lowe’s circumstance, the doctors were able to awaken him for a relatively short amount of time before he slipped back into catatonia. However they discovered that L-DOPA did have a positive effect on the patients. Because of this result, it has set the stage for testing ingredients of L-DOPA and scientists have an opportunity to find a more permanent drug to awaken catatonic patients, and give them the opportunity to live, as Leonard did for a short amount of time.

Everybody should be able to experience the joy of living life fully. If a person...
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