I. Setting and Atmosphere The Flower for Algernon took place in New York, City 1960s. It tone is vary with Charlie’s mental insight. It’s all about mentally disabled person wants to become intelligent and who was abandon by his mother and bullied by other people.
II. Plot and Structure Beginning- Charlie is so innocent, don’t know how read and write. He is working at Donner’s Bakery. He wants to become intelligent. He is the subject for Prof. Nemur and Dr. Strauss’s experiment. Rising Action- Dr. Strauss performs an experimental surgery on Charlie that propels his intelligence to genius levels. Charlie falls in love with Alice but finds he is unable to consummate their relationship because he feels uncertain childhood embarrassment about his sexuality.
Major Conflict- Charlie struggles to reach emotional maturity and feel like a whole person before his intelligence will fade and returns him to his original mentally disabled state. Climax- Charlie runs away from the scientists who are observing him because he wants freedom. Alice tells Charlie that his work at the laboratory is more important than his relationship with Fay. Charlie realizes in this moment that he can no longer run from his fate or the importance of his emotional journey.
Falling Action- Charlie discovers that he will soon lose his intelligence. Charlie finds his mother and sister and forgives them for how they treated him as a child. Charlie has a brief, fulfilling relationship with Alice. Charlie returns to his original mentally retarded state and checks himself into the Warren State Home.
III. Characters Charlie Gordon is the narrator and main character of the story. He is 32-year-old mentally disabled who works at Donner’s Bakery and is chosen by the scientist to undergo experimental surgery to improve his intelligence. Before he got the surgery or become intelligent, he is friendly man and who trust people easily. And then he realized that people around him are taking advantage and when they are kind to him, it usually has been out of awareness that he is inferior when his intelligence eventually grows.
He also realized that he has a feeling for Alice Kinnian since first. Because of the experimental operation promotes Charlie’s intelligence to such a level that his new genius distances him from people as much as his disability does he feels isolated from people and it makes him to pursue his course of self- education and struggles to untangle his emotional life. He is inspired by his mother to reach his goals like to be emotionally mature. Although Charlie hates the abuse he endured while disabled, he harbors anger toward his old self and, unluckily, feels the same lack of respect for his intellectual inferiors that many others used to feel for him.
In the final weeks of Charlie’s sharp intelligence, before he returns to his previous mental retardation that he learns to forgive his family and give and receive love. Charlie’s brief moment of emotional grace comes in the form of the fulfilling but short-lived romantic affair he has with Alice. Finally, though Charlie spaces back to his original state at the end of the novel, a fresh sense of self-worth remains within him, despite the fact that he has lost his short-lived intelligence. Algernon is a white mouse that also undergoes the surgery of Charlie.
Algernon’s intelligence is higher that Charlie’s when they first met. Soon, Charlie beats him. Charlie feels a real relationship with Algernon and becomes his friend. Alice Kinnian is the one who teaches Charlie how to read and write and recommends Charlie for Nemur and Strauss’s experiment. She also teaches literacy skills to mentally disable. She’s the one person with whom Charlie comes to experience a truly fulfilling personal relationship. Professor Nemur is the man that has great intellect but little ability to relate to others. Unlike Dr. Strauss, his partner, He is never interested in Charlie’s emotions but he only cares about Charlie’s progress as an experimental subject. He is desperate about his career and wants to be known as brilliant. Dr. Strauss is the neurosurgeon who performs Charlie’s surgery.
He is also the psychiatrist whom Charlie meets with on a regular basis for therapy. He is opposite to Prof. Nemur, he is very kind and tries to help recalling memories of Charlie. Rose Gordon is Charlie’s mother. She is ashamed Charlie’s disability and insisted that her son is normal. And when she gave birth to Norma, younger sister of Charlie, she turned her full attention to Norma and ignored Charlie.
IV. Point of View The story is told in a form of first-person. Everything in the story is filtered through Charlie’s mind of which change radically over the sequence of the novel, as Charlie’s IQ triples and then falls back to its original level.
V. Theme The theme of the story is the mistreatment of mentally disabled person and the conflict between mind and feelings.
VI. Summary The novel’s action begins in Charlie’s thirty-second year in Donner’s Bakery, New York, where he works. Charlie narrates his experience through ‘progress reports,’ which he has to submit to the research team from Beckman College. Charlie is a retarded adult, and he has agreed to submit himself to experimental surgery in order to improve his intelligence. The reports reveal Charlie’s experiences in the bakery to which the owner, his uncle’s friend, has brought him from the Warren State Home for retarded people. Charlie becomes a part of the bakery, and considers the people there as his friends. Yet, he is dissatisfied and wants to be ‘smart.’ So, he joins a special school for retarded people at Beckman College. After this, his teacher, Alice Kinnian, recommends him to a research team at Beckman psychology department. The team is in search of a retarded volunteer, for the experimental surgery to increase intelligence.
Charlie then undergoes weeks of testing and competing with a white mouse, Algernon at completing mazes. He is depressed when the mouse beats him every time. The operation takes place and Charlie is disappointed at not ‘getting smart’ immediately. However, he is assured that he will progress gradually, but steadily. Over a period of time, Charlie finds himself being able to read more, win some mazes and master complex processes at the bakery. The other workers resent him. He is disillusioned with many of them. He has to spend a lot of time reading and being tested at the Beckman lab. By now, he knows that Algernon has also had surgery similar to his, which accounts for his intelligence. Charlie surges ahead in gathering knowledge and mastering languages. He begins to see his supportive teacher Alice, as an attractive young woman.
They become close and he tries to make love to her. On several occasions, he finds he has a violent physical reaction when he is making love to her and therefore has to stop. He can’t understand why this happens. Around the same time, Charlie’s repressed memories of his home, surface. Disturbing scenes, like, his mother pushing him to study or others when he is being pushed aside in favor of his younger sister, flash through his memory. Charlie is upset, but he finds his newfound intellectual ability thrilling and works hard. He finds that he and Algernon are to be taken to Chicago for a convention, at which Nemur will present the findings of the team. Once there, Algernon and Charlie are the prime ‘exhibits,’ objects, and humiliating remarks are made in his hearing.
He also discovers that the researchers have not given sufficient time to verify their experimental findings before performing the experiment on him. Charlie releases Algernon, and runs away with him to New York. He hides here for some time and rents a house. He understands that his time is short and decides to check the same experiments, in order to trace the reasons for its failure. Charlie gets permission from the sponsors, to work independently on this subject at Beckman. His relationship with Nemur becomes tense and hostile.
He can’t overcome his problems with Alice and gets involved with Fay, an unconventional artist living next door. With her, he can defeat his inhibitions. But as his work gets more demanding, their relationship becomes strained and finally breaks. In the meantime, Algernon’s condition gets worse, and he dies. Charlie knows this indicates his own approaching end, and therefore he seeks out his parents. His father is alone in the Browse. Charlie meets him but can’t bear to reveal who he is, for fear of disappointment. His meeting with his mother and sister is anticlimactic, as the mother is old and senile, and his sister is having a bad time coping with the responsibility alone.
He is satisfied that he can tell them of his achievements. He makes his peace with them and leaves. He confronts Nemur at a party and charges him of being insensitive. Charlie is also charged of selfishness and arrogance, which he admits is the truth. He accepts that the retarded Charlie is an important and enduring part of him. He and Alice get together but only find fulfillment for a short time. As Charlie’s mind gets worse, he forces her to leave him. He works at the bakery, and when his condition becomes very bad, he moves to the Warren Home.