Flowers for Algernon


Progress Report 16 to 17

Progress Report 16 Summary

On a rainy day, Charlie borrows Burt’s car and drives to the Warren State Home and Training School in Long Island. He finds it difficult and depressing to see the patients there, and reflects that there is no sense of rehabilitation or hope for them, but the staff is kind and compassionate.

Algernon’s motivation continues to decrease, and Burt has to force-feed him with an eyedropper. Charlie feels a choking sense of panic seeing Algernon tied down. He deals with his stress by drinking and spending time with Fay, who he feels is growing possessive. She has no interest in his work, and they are beginning to grow apart. One night, Alice comes over to Charlie’s and the two women meet. They get along famously, and the three stay up all night drinking together. Alice tells Charlie that Fay is sweet and probably good for him, but encourages him to focus on his work. He spends more and more time at the lab, and Fay gets a new boyfriend. In his race against time to figure out the flaw in the experiment, Charlie is unconcerned about Fay.

Charlie attends a cocktail party at Nemur’s home. Nemur’s wife patronizes him, and Charlie drinks too many martinis. Strauss stops Charlie from saying something really incendiary to members of the Welberg Foundation, but Charlie continues to drink and draw unpleasant attention to himself. Nemur accuses him of being ungrateful, and they argue loudly. At the height of their disagreement, Charlie hears himself speaking in a childish way and he rushes to the bathroom. In the mirror, he confronts the “old Charlie,” believing that his former self wants his body back.

Soon afterward, Charlie has a mental breakthrough and figures out the flaw in Nemur’s work. He has figured out now that artificially produced intelligence will decline at exactly same rate at which it was accelerated. He has to come to terms with his inevitable fate, but he does not blame anyone. He assures Nemur, Strauss and Alice...

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