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Essay/Term paper: Flowers for algernon, by daniel keyes

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Expository Essays

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Medical operations are carried out everyday, but for
some, an operation can change a person's life. One
experiment was done on a mentally retarded person to try to
raise his intelligence. The experiment worked, but after
months, the patient regressed dramatically. In the book,
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes, this intelligence
operation was preformed, and the patient was Charlie Gordon.
After the operation, Charlie was very bright, but experienced
psychological traumas, loneliness, disillusionment, and
social inadequacies.
Charlie's psychological traumas or emotional upset was
caused by his memory recalls. After his operation, he
remembered every aspect of his childhood, whether it was good
or bad. "...He's normal! He's normal! He'll grow up like
other people. Better than others..." Charlie had dreams of
how his mother was ashamed of him. His mother always thought
her son was normal and would grow up and be somebody.
"...He's like a baby. He can't play Monopoly or checkers or
anything. I won't play with him anymore..." Charlie's
sister also ignored him. To her, Charlie was dumb and could
not do anything. Charlie had dreams of his sister yelling at
him and making fun of him. He also had memories of the night
his parents took him to the Warren Home. He was terrified
and his dad would never answer his questions. Charlie
remembered his childhood and through his memories, he felt
guilty for hurting his family.
After the operation, Charlie also suffered from
disillusionment. In the bakery he used to have friends.
Friends that would talk to him and care about him. "...Why?
Because all of the sudden your a bigshot. You think you are
better than the rest of us..." Charlie then realized that he
had no friends but merely knew people that made fun of him.
The bakery employees just liked him because they could blame
their mistakes on Charlie. Then, they could not do this
after the operation, so they all turned against Charlie.
"...I had to find out just how much they knew. I found out.
Nothing..." "Both frauds" Charlie also found out about
Nemur and Strauss. He realized they were not professionals,
but two men that were taking a shot in the dark. Charlie
felt like an expendable lab specimen. Thus, Charlie had lost
his friends and knew now he was just a like a lab rat.
Charlie had lacked faith in his fellow man.
"...Thoughts of suicide to stop it all while I am still
in control..." Everyday Charlie lost a piece of himself. He
was starting to regress and thought about suicide to end his
up and down life. He became irritable and edgy around people
at the university. He would become mad at people very
quickly and then yell at them. His self-centered and
arrogant personality was a symptom of his regression. People
stayed away from him because he was becoming a madman and was
unpredictable. Because of this, Charlie became lonely in his
last weeks before he regressed totally.
"...Intelligence without the ability to give and receive
affection can lead to a mental breakdown..." Charlie

experienced social inadequacies while he was intelligent.
"...You know as well as I do, you don't need to work here
anymore..." Charlie lost his job because he was to smart to
work in a bakery. He could not socially interact with people
he worked with and the people he met. Also, Charlie could
not perform with Alice or Fay. "...I saw him watching me
with his eyes wide open. I couldn't do it..." He
experienced illusions when he tried to make love with Alice.
The "Charlie" inside of himself emerged and started to regain
control of his mind. All in all, Charlie suffered from the
pain of not knowing how to deal with his peers and decisions.
Therefore, after the operation, Charlie became a smart
man but he had to pay the price for it. He had psychological
traumas, suffered from loneliness and illusions, and did not
know how to act with his peers. Charlie regressed and
finally went to the Warren Home, but he at least experienced
the world through normal eyes. On the other hand, Charlie
might of been better off without the experiment. He would
still have friends and a job, but most important of all, he
would have a life.


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