Flowers for Algernon
Category : Articles
???The story of Charlie in Flowers for Algernon opens our minds to other people and other worlds. ???
Imagine how you would feel if you were always being treated as though you were not human, as though you were different to everyone else, as though you didn??™t belong in this world, as though you could never learn the simplest of tasks Everyone wants to be loved. No one likes it when somebody displays hatred, disgust or racism towards yourself or another person. Everyday people that are outskirts of the society are being deprived of love, understanding, generosity and thoughtfulness without even doing anything wrong. They didn??™t ask to be like that, it??™s something that is left uncontrollable yet they are blamed and isolated for acting so unusual. We continue to treat people different for their differences but aren??™t we all meant to be special in our own way and equal
Daniel Keyes writing this emotional and impacting story of Charlie ???Flowers for Algernon??? has opened up our minds to less fortunate people and to realise about other worlds. It shows how someone special is treated differently day in day out by the remaining society. The main character, Charlie, is a 32 year old mentally retarded man. Charlie is portrayed as a friendly, eager and hardworking adult that struggles with learning difficulties diagnosed as a mental illness. As a result of this he is given the chance to become part of an experiment undergoing surgery to increase his intelligence.
At first Charlie is seen as a retard that cleans floors and toilets but then gradually makes his way up to become a genius through surgery learning a various amount of foreign languages and even outsmarting the scientists. After undertaking tests using pictures, words and mazes he is selected for the surgery. A few days after surgery, his brain becomes much like a sponge and is able to pick up and memorise the smallest details. It follows Charlie recording dramatic physical, verbal and mental changes being made throughout his progress. Before surgery Charlie didn??™t know he was being treated any differently but after seeing how they weren??™t laughing at his jokes, they were laughing at him, he experienced loneliness and distress since his intelligence grew faster than his emotional intelligence could.
After going through the hardship of surgery, Charlie starts to realise things that he didn??™t before. His colleagues from the bakery have been mocking him all along rather than acting friendly. Before the surgery he viewed them as friends that cared for him and talked to him and after Charlie realised he had no friends and he was just being made fun of. This demonstrates that Charlies newly found intelligence shows all new features of his previous life and puts him ahead of the scientist that created this experiment especially the moment where he realises that Professor Nemur doesn??™t understand Hindi. Although the surgery increased his intelligence he lost his job, friends, and social skills. By the end of the story Charlie??™s intelligence is found to only last temporarily with fast deterioration back to the starting point. All that he had and experienced was slowly fading away.
It leaves us wondering who the retarded people in this whole matter actually were. Was it Charlie in his retarded state yet warm and caring or everyone else around him using him for experiments, making fun of him for their own enjoyment or people staying away from him due to being afraid
By writing the story in diary format, it has added emotion and first hand information on the feelings and life changes experienced by charley after the surgery. ???Progris riport 1: martch 5, 1965. Dr. Strauss says I shud rite down what I think and evrey thing that happins to me from now on.” By us as the audience seeing first hand evidence of what was going on it shows us to open out hearts and minds to others in need and worlds that are different to our own. We see that underneath all that mental illness is just a man that has the same emotions, feelings and thoughts to any other man. He may need more attention that others, but at the end of the day, deep down inside, Charlie shows us that he is a loving, caring man and we see this through little things that he does such as gently holding the mouse.
Charlie is living proof that, he is just like any of us. He may be different and experience learning difficulties but inside he is just a normal human being going through all the same things we do. Just like any of us he has a job to earn money, so called ???friends??? to talk to and have fun with, a school to attend, a home to come home to, a girl that he falls in love with and a lovely personality to match. Charlie shows us to be aware of what other people are going through every day. He teaches us to open our minds to people like him, people in need of love and care, people in need of just a simple understanding.
I think that Flowers for Algernon has definitely opened our minds to other people and other worlds through watching the journey that Charlie had to take and the changes in his life that were undergone and the significant reactions of the people surrounding him.