Flowers For Algernon

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2002

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In the book, Flowers for Algernon, written by Daniel Keyes, we meet a "young" retarded adult. 32 year old Charlie Gordon, with an original I.Q. of 68, undergoes a surgery to improve his intelligence level. All throughout his life, Charlie was retarded. His mother and father gave him up because of his disability. It was mainly his mother's idea. I think that Charlie's life, as a whole, would be more to him, if he wasn't given up as a child. I believe this because when Charlie decides to go see his mother and sister, he gets all worried about everything. Also, Charlie faces problems in his personal life because no body was ever there to teach him that it was okay to date, and stuff like that.

After the surgery, when Charlie goes to see his mother, he gets worried about what he is going to say and what their responses will be.

Charlie wouldn't have had to go through this if his parent's had not let Uncle Herman have custody of him. This, would have, in the long run, helped Charlie live a better life. Charlie had a hard time facing his mother. He writes: I went to see Rose three days ago. Finally, I forced myself to borrow Burt's car, again. I was afraid, and yet I knew I had to go"¦As I approached the house, I had a second shock"¦ I wanted to look away to turn back down the street.

The above quotation shows Charlie's fear of reuniting with his mother. He even comes right out and states, "I was afraid". He wanted to go but he, also, felt like it was his duty. If he didn't believe it was his duty, Charlie wouldn't have felt as though he had to go. If Charlie did not have to deal with this, because he was living with Rose all his life, he would have been a lot happier.

The reason that Charlie faces problems in is personal life, is because nobody ever told him that he was allowed to date. He was always punished if he even looked at a girl/women. Dating is a big part of Charlie, as with a lot of single people that age. After waking up next to Charlie and his neighbor, Fay, have a small conversation. Fay says (to Charlie), ""¦and you kept saying that you couldn't play with me because your mother would take away your peanuts and put you in a cage." As a young boy, Charlie's mother told him that when he played with or looked at a girl. Charlie then writes in his progress report (after the conversation between him and Fay), ""¦and Charlie was afraid of losing his peanuts." His mother threatened to punish him if liked a girl or if he just looked towards one. As he grew older, though, nobody was there to teach Charlie that it was okay and natural for a man of his age to like a person of the opposite sex. Charlie carries a fear along with him the rest of his life because of this.

If Charlie had lived with his family his entire life, he wouldn't have to face the fear of seeing his family again and he wouldn't have to face the fear of getting into a relationship with somebody. Charlie, being afraid, misses out on a lot. If he wouldn't have been afraid, he would have been happier. Everybody is happier if they aren't scared of something. Charlie, as a happier person, would live a happier life, therefore, making it better.