A liiterary analysis of Flowers for Algernon

Essay by eryka_sJunior High, 9th grade June 2004

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"Flowers for Algernon" is a book about a human experiment, which turns a mentally retarded individual, Charlie, in a genius in a short amount of time. Algernon is a mouse, which they have tested the experiment on first.

As the book begins, a major conflict of man vs. society appears. Basically its between Charlie, representing the mentally retarded vs. society. Charlie does not realize this when his intelligence is limited but as he grows brighter he notices the people he used to call friends, namely his co-workers in the bakery, were outwardly mean to him. Frank Reilly, Joe Carp, and Gimpy play cruel tricks on him that Charlie does not understand. Once they took Charlie to a bar, got him drunk, and laughed at him while Charlie. Charlie never understood this at the time and he tools the laughter as a sign of friendship. His other co-worker, Fanny Birden, is the only one nice to him but it is only out of pity because of his disability.

Once Charlie realizes the mistreatment of mentally retarded people, he cannot help but feel resentment to those who used to look down on him. At one point in the novel, Charlie is at a restaurant and there is a mentally retarded kitchen helper. When he sees that they are laughing at him he proceeds to yell at them telling them that the kitchen helper is human too. Charlie feels a connection with him. However when Charlie visits the Warren Home, he looks at the boys with the same perception people used to look at him with. For example, when the deaf mute boy in the shop class shows Charlie a mediocre lamp he made, Charlie said it was a nice job to humor the boy. Charlie resents the boys in the...