Themes analysis of flowers for algernon

Essay by maree11B+, June 2005

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An understanding of self - In first-person narratives, the narrator may play one of two types of roles. He may be a low profile, colorless character, who acts as a medium to convey the actions of others around him who are more dramatic and colorful. Alternately, he may be one of the central characters in the literary work. Charlie belongs to the latter category. What makes him stand out is that he doesn't know who he really is. The Charlie with an I.Q. of 68 is wildly different from the one who is a genius. The person considered sub-human by his surgeons goes on to become the one, capable of detecting the errors in their work. The Charlie, who was forbidden by his mother to even look at a girl with sex in his mind, finds that there are two women who find him attractive, but he can't deal with the change.

How Charlie charts his passage through the strange territory into which his operation throws him, is one of the Themes of the novel. Before the operation, Charlie longed to "be smart and have lots of frends." Afterwards, he finds himself looking at the old "frends" with new eyes and gradually getting alienated from them. His conscious mind doesn't remember much about his family, but he has constant flashes of memory about them, and their rejection of him. Thus, Charlie after the operation is lonelier than ever before. He then uses his new powers to understand the new, larger world before him. He equips himself with a variety of knowledge. Yet, close personal ties evade him.

Charlie's earlier dependence on Miss Kinnian has developed into love. He is conscious of this, but can't bring his feelings to sexual completion. He realizes this is due to his...