Flowers for Algernon


Essay Topics

1. Discuss some ethical considerations of Charlie’s brain surgery. Do you think he was better off for having done it? What does Charlie himself think? How do you suppose Alice Kinnian might feel about it? Does Daniel Keyes seem to present an answer to these questions, or does he leave the reader to draw his own conclusions? Support your argument with examples from the text.

2. As Charlie develops more self-awareness, he begins to see that people are laughing at him. He also becomes aware of the trauma of his childhood. Is this a good thing for Charlie? Why or why not?

3. Charlie’s sexual development is an important element of the novel’s plot. What role does Fay play in this? He believes that being with Fay makes it possible for him to be with Alice, with whom he is really in love. Why is this? Do you agree with this idea? Is it fair for Charlie to carry on relationships with both women?

4. As Charlie’s intelligence increases, his personality clearly changes. In what specific ways do these changes occur? Which Charlie is more likeable—the old Charlie or the genius Charlie? Or are they equally likeable? Use examples from the text to support your argument.

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Essays About Flowers for Algernon