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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

September 26, 2016

 

(3 Stars)

Genius comes with a price: this much is true for Charlie Gordon, a thirty year old mentally handicapped man who wants desperately to be smart. The story begins when Charlie is chosen for an experiment to increase cognitive function in people with low IQ’s. Hardworking and amiable, Charlie is deemed perfect for this experiment. After the operation, Charlie’s intelligence is indeed heightened. As the story continues, his knowledge transcends the very doctors who gave him his intelligence. However, as he grows smarter, he becomes cynical and sullen. His likable personality disappears along with his friends and colleagues. He compares himself to a deceased lab specimen, a white mouse named Algernon. Like the mouse, Charlie feels that he is doomed to pursue life as an enigma with innumerable dead ends. Before the story ends, Algernon dies and Charlie’s final request is for his grave to always be adorned with flowers.

 

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