The Algernon-Gordon Effect

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The Algernon-Gordon Effect

The reputation of Daniel Keyes is a result of "Flowers For Algernon.” In 1959, Keyes won the Hugo Award for best short story. The version of the novel also received The Nebula Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1966, for the best novel. As a reader of this short story, one could be overwhelmed with anticipation and emotion. Keyes enhances the story with the use of the progress reports and the first person point of view.

The progress reports used in "Flowers for Algernon" make the story easier to follow and read Charlie's progress as well as his thoughts. Starting on March 5, 1965, Charlie Gordon writes these progress reports on a regular basis and continues writing them until the end of the story on July 27, 1965. Each entry is dated, this allows the reader keep track of the progression of the story. Sometimes these entries are made daily, and sometimes not so often. This gives the reader a feeling of the pace at which things are happening. On March 5, 1965 Charlie is thirty-seven years old and first hears about how they (Dr. Strauss and Nemur) can maybe make him smart, if he is chosen. A sample from his first entry is as follows; "Mr. Strauss says I shud rite down what I think and evrey thing that happins to me from now on." The reader can see, as a result of the progress report, exactly how bad Charlie's spelling and grammar really is. Illustrations such as this are used throughout the short story by Keyes. On March 8 Charlie is told that they are going to use him for the experiment. "Im so exited I can hardly write." Charlie says. The journal reads; "Dr. Strauss says I had a good motor-vation. Algernons (the mouse) motor-vation is the cheese they put in his box. But it cant be that because I didn't eat any cheese this week." This first person point of view obviously tells the reader that at this time (March 8) Charlie doesn't have a clue about anything. On April 6, 1965 Charlie shows...
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