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Flowers for Algernon Analysis Movie Vs Book

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Justin Kim

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Flowers for Algernon Analysis Movie Vs Book

Flowers for Algernon Analysis: Movie Vs. Book
By: Justin Kim/Period 5/Due Date: December 4, 2013
"Flowers for Algernon," a short story by Daniel Keyes, is a story of a 32 year old man named Charlie Gordon who has an aspiration to be smart. One of the main reasons for this is because Charlie cannot comprehend what his so-called "friends" are saying to him. When Charlie gets an opportunity of a lifetime, which is to undergo a surgery that would triple his IQ, he gets very eager to do it. However, his doctors do not mention the potential side effects that would occur, such as the effects reversing. Eventually, Charlie regresses down to square one and he is back to normal. So, you can see, the operation turned out to be not so helpful.
The Movie
In 1968, Flowers for Algernon was made into a movie called Charly. Just like any other movie made from a story, Charly wasn't the exact same as Flowers for Algernon. There were many differences and similarities. Two examples of similarities are the following. First, Charlie begins and ends the story as not being very intelligent. Second, Charlie races a mouse named Algernon to test his intelligence. On the other hand, two differences between the movie and story are as follows. First, Dr. Strauss is a woman in the movie, rather than a man in the story. Second, Charlie does not write any progress reports in the movie, whereas in the story he did. Let's explore these similarities and differences.
First, Charlie Gordon is not very intelligent in both the beginning and end of the story and movie. This is one of the main points of the story and movie, as it serves as an impetus for Charlie going through the surgery in the first place. With an IQ of 68, he didn't know how to communicate, spell, or punctuate correctly. He wanted to get smarter and in Charlie's mind, the surgery was the best way to achieve that goal. After a short time period passes, he starts to noticeably get more intelligent. In no time at all, Charlie gets so smart that no one understood what he was saying. However, as more time passed, the worst side effect manifested itself. Charlie would start to get less and less intelligent. These changes in Charlie happened in both the story and movie, making it a similarity between the two.
I think that the director chose to keep this part in the movie because it is very influential. Without this, the movie wouldn't have been anywhere close to the story. Also, it adds interest to the movie by giving a solid reason for why Charlie wanted to get smarter.

The First Similarity
Second, in both the movie and story, Charlie races a mouse, named Algernon, several times before and during the surgery to see his intelligence levels. When Charlie races him before the surgery, Algernon won every time. Charlie couldn't seem to beat him. He even got angry on one occasion because Algernon beat him so many times. The thing was, Algernon had already done the surgery. This was another reason why Charlie wanted to undergo the surgery, as he saw that it made Algernon extremely smart. Moreover, after the surgery, Charlie beat Algernon every time!
I think the director kept this section of the story in the movie because it helps the reader grasp how intelligent Charlie was before the surgery and how smart Algernon was as a mouse who did the surgery. It also adds excitement to the movie by seeing how Charlie increases in intelligence as time passes.
The Second Similarity
First, in the story, Dr. Strauss, one of Charlie's doctors for the surgery, is a man. However, in the movie, Dr. Strauss is a woman. I think the main effect in doing this is that it adds a more motherly appeal to the movie. In the story, the male Dr. Strauss is concerned about Charlie and his emotional well-being as he is intellectually developing, but in the movie, the female Dr. Strauss is much more concerned about Charlie than the male Dr. Strauss. She cares more for Charlie.
I think the director chose to make this difference in the movie mainly because (like I stated before) it adds a motherly approach to the movie. This gives the audience more of an insight to what Charlie is going through. Overall, I believe that making Dr. Strauss a woman was a smart idea because it adds more color and interest to the movie.
The First Difference
Second, in the story, Charlie writes Progress Reports very occasionally; sometimes daily. In these reports are in-depth passages about Charlie's feelings, memories, and thoughts throughout the course of the surgery. They also help the reader see how Charlie grew more and more intelligent as time passed. However, in the movie, the director decided to take these helpful progress reports out. While the audience can see and take note on what Charlie does and sees during each of his days, they lose some of the possible connection that they could be having with Charlie.
I think the main reason why the director decided to take the progress reports out is because it would take a lot of time in the movie to see Charlie writing down word after word in each of his progress reports. Also, it would've been a little boring for the audience to watch it. So, you can see, while having the progress reports in the movie would be nice, they would take up too much time in the movie.
The Second Difference
In conclusion, Flowers for Algernon and Charly have many differences and similarities. By investigating these characteristics between the movie and story, we have evaluated how close the movie was to the real story. We have also learned why the director chose to keep/delete some parts of the story in the movie. As the evidence shows, evaluating the differences and similarities of Flowers for Algernon and Charly aren't only for personal enjoyment, but it helps readers and viewers alike in understanding multiple characteristics about the story and movie as a whole.
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