Flowers for Algernon


Cast of Characters

Charlie Gordon: The protagonist of the novel. Flowers for Algernon is composed of a series of “progress reports” through which Charlie describes his life as a developmentally challenged 32-year-old man on whom experimental surgery is performed to increase his intelligence. Through Charlie’s eyes, we see his mental and emotional development as the result of the surgery, as well as his regression when the change proves to be only temporary.

Alice Kinnian: Charlie’s teacher at the Beekman Center for Retarded Adults. She initially recommends him for the surgery and follows his progress, partly from a sense of responsibility. As Charlie matures intellectually and emotionally, the two fall in love. They have a brief, bittersweet love affair before Charlie’s regression makes it impossible for them to connect as emotional equals. Charlie sends her away before his regression is complete in order to spare suffering for both of them.

Harold Nemur: A professor of psychology at Beekman University who, in concert with Dr. Strauss, develops the surgery that temporarily increases Charlie’s intelligence. Although Professor Nemur genuinely desires to make his mark for the good of humankind, he is so scientifically minded that he never really ceases to view Charlie as a “guinea pig” rather than as a human being. Charlie’s anger with him for this attitude is one of the major sources of conflict in the novel.

Jayson Strauss: A psychiatrist and neurosurgeon working with Professor Nemur on the surgery. He performs the operation on Charlie and sees him regularly for therapy as Charlie uncovers the repressed memories of his childhood abuse. Dr. Strauss is a more compassionate figure than Dr. Nemur, although Charlie is unable to become close with him because he maintains a professional distance from his patient.

Algernon: A white laboratory mouse on whom the surgery was tested before being...

Sign up to continue reading Cast of Characters >

Essays About Flowers for Algernon