The language and structure used in the play Flowers Essay
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In the radio play ‘The play of Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon’ which was adapted by Bert Coules, language and structure convey the themes and characters of the play.
Charlie’s personality throughout the play is mainly developed throughout by the implementation of language.
The changes which occur in Charlie are also emphasized dramatically through the use of language and progress reports. The play explores the themes of medial and ethical issues and how language affects this. Structure and language both play a large part in the radio play ”The play of Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon’ by conveying the characters and themes of the play.
Charlie Gordon’s character is demonstrated clearly through the language of the play. His childlike personality especially is shown clearly in the beginning and at the end of the play. This trait of Charlie’s personality is shown most effectively by the use of language, as shown when Charlie races Algernon in the ‘amazed’.
When Charlie finally wins, he exclaims “Ha! I won! I beat Algernon!”, which is similar to what a child would say after losing consistently and then winning.
Similarly, when Charlie first loses to Algernon, he creates a reason to why he hasn’t won, using an excuse to try make himself feel better. “Maybe white mice are smarter then other mice.” This again shows Charlie’s emotional immaturity and how he tries to find a plausible reason to why he loses, a mentality which is similar to that of a child.
The grammatical errors which Charlie makes when the play script was written add to the depth of his character. The main sign that shows that Charlie’s IQ is very low is how the script is written with purposely applied grammatical errors. Throughout the entire beginning of the play, Charlie’s recordings have these errors. An example of this is when Charlie says ‘…becus I tried the hardist and I reely wanted to lern.’ It not only implies Charlie’s low level of intelligence but also shows his ‘motor-vation’ and determination to be smart.
For example, Charlie refers to the maze which he races Algernon in as the ‘amazed’. This misspelling of the word has two main effects, the main one referring to Charlie’s low IQ. The other effect is that it shows that Charlie cannot conceptualize because he takes things very literally.
When Charlie first meets Bert he is polite and courteous. Then when confronted by Bert during the Rorschach test, his inability to conceptualize shows, and he says that he can only see an inkblot. Then later on in the play Charlie says that ‘I like to draw pictures but I wont make up lies’. This line contributes to Charlie’s image of being noble and that he was brought up to be honest, and that he tries to make the best of what he has.
As the play progresses, Charlie’s personality becomes different; from a caring, noble man to someone who is spiteful, protective of himself and selfish. The implementation of language illustrates this change effectively. This change occurs because of his inability to communicate with the world around him due to his increasing intelligence. He feels like a misfit because initially he was too inane to fit in, and after the experiments effects have reached their peaks, he was too intelligent to socialize.
His increased IQ is shown when he is talking to Ms. Kinnian in the cafï¿½ bar, as he tries to explain something so complicated that Ms. Kinnian is unable to follow. This inability to communicate sparks anger in Charlie, ‘I was almost angered’, as did the realization that the world is not what it seemed like before. ‘No one I’ve ever known is what he appears to be on the surface’.
The effect of this line emphasizes how Charlie has changed from being a simple-minded person, to one who feels anger and regret. When Charlie says ‘Before, when they laughed at me, they despised me for my ignorance, now, they hate me for my knowledge. What in God’s name do they want of me?’, it sums up his emotions and what he feels.
Joe and Frank’s characters are demonstrated through the use of language in the play. Their speech constructs the characters and also affects how the character personalities come across to the audience. Their use of slang and improper tenses shows that they do not have particularly a high intelligence.
“I don’t think he had no operation’. This implies that although they are superior to Charlie initially, the way they speak constructs their personality as an ordinary person. Joe and Frank’s personalities are constructed and conveyed the most effectively through their speech and the use of language.
Progress reports play a large part in the structure of the play. They show how Charlie changes, and because it is a recurrent structure, you can use it to compare previous and current reactions. This is shown by how Charlie’s style of speech changes from simplistic and childlike, to that of a genius with sophisticated ideas, and then back again. The obvious contrast between “The operashun dint hurt” and “No guarantee of permanence” makes it easy to show Charlie’s change in character. The use of progress reports provides an added method of giving the audience insight into Charlie’s character.