Flowers for Algernon - Review

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The book, "Flowers for Algernon", was an exciting science fiction novel written by . 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