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Flowers for Algernon

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Flowers for Algernon

In the novel, Flowers for Algernon, Charlie must understand how to grow both emotionally and mentally as his intelligence enhances. Charlie notices the big change taking place; he also notices how the people around him do not treat him properly. The novel begins by introducing Charlie as a grown man with the mindset of a kindergarten child. However, he has very good motivation to become a smarter being. After the surgery Charlie’s IQ improves drastically. Throughout the novel the reader notices how Charlie’s IQ enhances every progress report until it surpasses everyone he knows. Amongst all these changes, Charlie struggles to have friendships with those who were out to help him from the beginning.

Although Charlie has a very low I.Q., he has great motivation to learn about everything. To gain knowledge, Charlie attends Beekmin College Center. Charlie writes progress reports to express his thoughts and feelings. One thing that the reader learns about Charlie is his life as a child. The reason why he is so motivated was because when he was a child his mother resented him because of his low IQ. This is one of the reasons why Charlie tries so hard to be accepted. He is a very self effacing individual and is very scared of disappointing people. This is evident when Charlie speaks of it in one of his progress reports "...all my life I wantid to be smart and not dumb and my mom always tolld me to try and lern just like Miss Kinnian tells me but its very hard to be smart and even when I lern something in Miss Kinnians class at the school I ferget alot." (Keyes 3). Because of Charlie’s fear of disappointing people he is very enthusiastic when he finds out the operation will make him have a greater IQ.

Charlie is introduced at the beginning of the novel as a man who is 32 years old and has the I.Q. of 68. Miss Kinnian, Charlie’s teacher, taught him what a comma is, what it looks like and how to use it in his writing. One will realize this when Charlie abuses the comma in his writing out of excitement.

Today, I learned, the comma, this is, a, comma (,) a period, with a tail, Miss kinnian, says its, important, because, it makes writing, better, she said, somebody, could lose, a lot, of money, if a comma, isn’t in, the right, place, I got, some money, that I, saved from, my job, and what, the foundation, pays me, but not, much and, I don’t, see how, a comma keeps, you from, losing it, But, she says, everybody, uses commas, so Ill, use them, too,,,, (keyes 38)

As stated before, Charlie has the mindset of a kindergarten child in the beginning of the novel.

Another transformation Charlie goes through is when he undergoes an experiment which improves his IQ level. This experiment was first performed on Algernon and proved to be very successful. Algernon is an experimental mouse which Charlie adores. "I dint know mice were so smart." (Keyes 6). Charlie is amazed by the intelligence of a mouse. As the reader reads the progress reports he or she will notice how much his grammar improves as the days go by. His mind is now more complex and understands many things that before would only leave him confused. Charlie thought that by being smart more people would be friends with him and he would not be an outcast. He soon learns that is not the case, in fact people are much more intimidated of his unbelievable intelligence. His co-workers are very confused on how Charlie went from border line retarded to a very intelligent man in a couple of months. In fact one of Charlie’s co-workers thinks that he made a deal with the devil. Charlie is now starting to notice that people do not like anyone different.

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