FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON SUPPLEMENTARY BOOK REVIEW
The book, “Flowers for Algernon”, was an exciting science fiction novel written by Daniel Keyes. The main characters of the story are the central character, Charlie, who is a mentally retarded individual involved
in a remarkable experiment which increased his I.Q., Alice, a teacher at
the special education faculty at Beekman College who taught Charlie how to
read and write, the professors who performed the experiment on Charlie,
Fay, one of Charlie’s aquaintances which he meets as the book progresses,
and last but not least Algernon.
The novel is exciting and contains very original material. The moods
which are created in the reader, being me, are ones of sorrow, anger, and
guilt. One of the elements of the story which contributes greatly to the
mood the reader experiences would be the plot. In the story, Charlie, is
subject to an experiment which increases his intelligence in hopes of
knowing more in the soul purpose of impressing people to gain friends.
Unfortunately some of his anticipations were not met.
The main characters in the novel include Charlie, Alice, Algernon, and
Fay, a character who did not make much of an appearance, but in my eyes
believed, that she played a very important part in Charlie’s involvement in
trying to sort out his past and figure out his present and future plans.
Charlie is a mentally retarded person who has impressing people and gaining
friends as one of his top priorities. He then hears of an experiment which
could possibly make him smart. He makes himself subject to this human
experiment with the hopes of gaining knowledge in a sole purpose of gaining
friends. As the book progresses, Charlie goes through dramatic changes
mentally, and instead of making him gain friends he actually is looked on
in the same way if not worse. For example, at Charlie’s old work his
“friends” made fun of him and enjoyed his company just because Charlie had
amused them. Yet after the operation, Charlie discovers that he had not
made his friends like him more, but in actual fact, had pushed them away.
Charlie understood now that his friends had done to him in the past, and
starts to look down upon them. Alice, Charlie’s teacher, is the person who
introduced Charlie to the idea of giving the experiment a chance. She
believes that Charlie has the determination, desire, and will power to make
the experiment work. She then, later on in the book, gets emotionally
involved with Charlie and helps Charlie learn more about himself.
Algernon, is a lab animal who also has the experiment done on him and as
result makes him smarter than the average mouse. Algernon also plays a
very important part in the novel because he represents Charlie and
foreshadows what will happen to Charlie later on in the book. Fay, is an
artist who certainly has views on life which can be rarely found in an
individual. As the book progresses, Fay, helps Charlie reveal his physical
and emotional capabilities.
There are many exciting parts which occur in the book, yet one
however, in my opinion which proved to be the most memorable would probably
be when he had been trying to find what had gone wrong in the experiment
before the inevitable happened to him. After he had discovered what had
gone wrong he had started to descend down the escalator of intelligence and
attempted to make several desperate attempts to try and walk up an
escalator going down.
The only thing that I do not agree with is how the book concludes.
The conclusion of the book in my eyes leaves the reader hanging like…
this. If I would make a change I would write about what happened after
Charlie Gordon’s death. An example of this would be possible progress and
success in the field, or maybe because of the events which had occurred in
the past in this field, it was given up for dead, or maybe Fay or Alice
had conceived a child and grew older had pursued his/her father’s
theory/discovery which in turn leads into a sequel. If anyone were to ask
me if they should read Flowers For Algernon, I would regard it as an
excellent book to read because it makes the reader think of how a mentally
retarded person feels, and mabye will show us a new respect for them. This
book has made me realize just how much more determination a mentally
retarded person could possibly have, and makes me realize just how lucky normal people really are.