Today the general public should recognize that no matter what the circumstance, all are created to be equal. However in the minds of a large part of society, that is not the case. Race used to be that aspect that segregated two groups of individuals. That problem is no longer withstanding, and whatever little is still present is not widely known. There is a situation that withstands today that does set two groups of people apart, and this is widely known in society. Mental illness is not something that can be chosen or changed. Instead of helping the mentally ill conform into society people today make sure that everyone knows that they are “different from us”. Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” stresses the intense ridicule society places on the mentally disabled through the actions of which Charlie Gordon, the protagonist, believes are his “friends”.
Daniel Keyes, born in 1927 in Brooklyn New York, constantly battled an internal conflict over his choice to do what his parents told him, pursuing a career saving lives, or choosing his passion, which was writing. When his first year at NYU was coming to a close finish he thought to himself, “My education is a driving wedge between me and the people I love” (Keyes 1999 Pt. 1, ¶ 36). After later wondering what would happen if it were possible to increase a person’s intelligence, Keyes stored that idea and the ideas of education being a forcing wedge between people to then create “Flowers for Algernon” (Keyes 1999, Pt. 1, ¶ 36). Daniel Keyes was a high school English teacher during the time, grasping inspiring ideas from his students, that led to the the story, that later was turned into a best-selling novel (Werlock).
Keyes had been teaching two Special Modified English for low I.Q classes at the time. Keyes mentions that one of the key motivating points for the novel happened in one of these modified English classes. A student once said to him, “I know this is a dummy class, and I want to ask you:...
Cited: Keyes, Daniel. Algernon, Charlie, and I. Orlando: Hartcourt, 1999. Print.
- - -. Flowers for Algernon. Orlando: Harcourt, 1966. Print.
Logsdon, Ann. "Learn about Mental Retardation." About. About.com, 2013. Web. 5 Apr. 2013. .
Reiss, Steven. "Researcher says society mistreats the mentally retarded." Herald-Journal [Chicago] 9 June 1987: 24. Print.
Werlock, Abby H. P. "Keyes, Daniel." The Facts On File Companion to the American Short Story, Second Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2009. (Updated 2011.) Bloom 's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CASS482&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 5, 2013).
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