Flowers for Algernon

Essay by jpayoteiCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2014

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

ENGL 110

September 15th 2014

An Innocent's adventure towards Enlightenment

In this challenging world, everyone dreams to be smart and known by everyone but not all gets that opportunity. In the "Flowers of Algernon", written by Daniel Keyes, the protagonist Charlie gets that lifetime opportunity to boost his intelligence level. Charlie, a feeble-minded thirty-seven years old man puts himself into brain surgery to get smart. Charlie has a disease called phenylketonuria, a rare disease that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body. Furthermore, this makes Charlie unable to read or write or understand anything about people and their views. The experiment to increase Charlie's intelligence has some negative effects, however, Charlie's intelligence grows to the level of genius and does great things to the science and mankind.

"Flowers of Algernon" is composed of progress reports written by Charlie himself, about his thoughts and life seen through his eyes.

As clearly seen in the beginning of the story, Charlie has hard time to spell simple words and write structural sentences. Alice Kinnian, Charlie's teacher at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults, recommends Charlie for the experiment because of his exceptional eagerness to learn. Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur, the doctors involved in the experiment to install artificial intelligence in peoples through brain surgery, urge Charlie to write progress report to see improvement in his brain. This experiment, funded by the Welberg Foundation, has already been successful on a white lab mouse named Algernon, so the researchers were ready for a human participant. Charlie was asked to race with Algernon to see his improvement. He was initially disappointed that there is no change in his intellect, but with the help from Alice, he gradually improves his spelling and grammar. When he returns to...