This essay describes the novel Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Charlie, the protagonist is a man who undergoes radial changes in his intellect which affects the way in which he must navigate society from the perspective of his relationships. …
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It is Charlie’s intention, from the beginning, to improve in order to fit and function better in his social setting. Even though his intellect improves, he is still not accomplished in social interaction as is shown when he attempts to date Alice Kinnian. The experiences that Charlie has through the changes that are made in his intellect leave him little changed in relation to those things that had always been the most important to him which was the desire to not be isolated from the social world.
Carroll writes about her own experiences dealing with a student who couldn’t read or write and his responses to this book. Carroll as a teacher, read the book to her class which gave him hope at first, but when the end came, there was a feeling of despair as he began to see that his circumstances were not a matter of a cure. This did not define his experience, where in fact he did give the school a try and managed to do a project with reading that gained him the same kind of recognition from authority figures that Charlie had for excelling beyond what was expected. This story of a boy named Will ends similarly to that of Charlie as he has his shining moment where he steps outside of his life and excels academically, only to be suspended from school shortly after and failed most of the classes of his eighth-grade year. Just as for Charlie, Will was able to excel because special circumstances changed the environment, but just like Charlie, when those circumstances no longer existed he reverted back to the state of intellectual development that framed his existence.
The core of much of what Charlie experiences is based on the way in which his relationships change and become out of balance.
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