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Flowers For Algernon

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Matthew Liu

on 16 January 2014

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Transcript of Flowers For Algernon

Flowers For Algernon is a story about a 32 year old man named Charlie Gordon. He has been retarded his whole life and his parents abandoned him at at young age because he was dumb. Charlie has been trying to learn in special classes for retarded people but has not worked. He was then given a special chance to do an operation to cause him to become more intelligent. After the operation Charlie become a genius within 3 months. He begins to feel new emotions, love, and does not know how to control it. All his friends start disliking him and he does not know why. Charlie decides to go visit his family that left him 17 years ago but they all do not remember him.In the end, the operation failed and Charlie becomes retarded again and worst than he was before, and leaves his friends and true love, Alice Kinnian. He writes final letters to all his friends and leaves to the Warren State home where he spends the rest of his life at.

This is the first part from the movie "Flowers for Algernon" in 2000 to help you get a better understanding of the book. (If you're confused)
Through out the text there are examples of our 3 themes "Nothing lasts forever, Don't destroy what you don't understand, and ignorance is bliss"

1. Throughout the book it has shown examples of intelligence vs emotions for example before Charlie received the operation, everyone enjoyed being around him and laughing at him, after everyone disliked him for being so smart and he became rude, What do you think is more important intelligence or your own emotions?

2. Charlie was abandoned at a young age by his parents, yet after all those years he went back to see them, even after he remembers all of the mean and terrible things they've said and done to him, would you go back to your parents if you were in Charlie's position? and what do you think Charlie's reaction was?
The themes of our book can also relate to things that happen today in our society.
1. Nothing lasts forever: This theme is realistic because nothing ever does last, whether it's life, relationships, beauty, or in Charlie's case, intelligence. Everyone has an idealistic view on life, relationships, and beauty so when all of it goes away, they feel lost and hurt. An example of this is when someone loses someone very important to them. In addition, did you know that during the medival times, scientist thought that there was such thing as immortality and living forever so they all decide to creat potion to help them stay alive. In the end they either die right away after drinking the potion, or dying earlier than normally.

2. Ignorance is bliss: Before Charlie became smarter, he was happier - he appreciated the small things in life and was oblivious to all the animosity in the world.As he got smarter, reality hits him hard and he starts to pay attention to all the negativity. This also relates to real life, for example, as children, we felt more happier because we were ignorant to problems but as we get older, we realize the world is not as pleasant as we once thought it was. For example, the tooth fairy and Santa Clause.

3. Don't destroy what you can't understand: Ever since Charlie was born, people neglected and discriminated Charlie because he wasn't "normal" by their standards. This happens in real life too, as we continue to harm others because we don't agree with or understand them. For example, when someone commits a hate crime, they're not aware of how impactful their actions are and how that could lead to potential death. As well, people who are different get bullied by others. The bully or bullies think that they are weird for being different so their feelings get destroyed just because of others who don't understand their perspectives. Including gay or bisexual people as well. People who want to fit in like everyone else, but are being neglected or rejected because they are "different".

4. Man vs Society : This book is a great depiction of how a mentally disabled person is treated in the 1950s where everything is about perfection. Nobody understood or tried to understand th mentally disabled, they would just ignore them or treat them as unequals.

5. Man vs Self: Charlie's conflict with himself is realistic because of his rapid intellectual growth. Not only has he developed intellectually, he has also developed emotionally. This causes him to create a distinction between the old(retarded) and new(smart) Charlie. When someone changes this fast, it's easy to lose themselves and their identity.

6. Man vs Technology: The conflict between Charlie and the experiment is realistic because even though it helps him quickly, it deteriorates, causing him to slowly lose his temporary intelligence. This proves that one should not rely on their technology too much.

How are the themes and conflicts realistic?

How are the Themes and Conflicts Relevant?
Nothing lasts Forever: This theme is connected to the short story "Sir Gaiwan and the Loathly Lady". Charlie's limited intelligence and the Loathly Lady's unattractiveness is similar as both of them change into someone smarter and more attractive.

Ignorance is Bliss: This reminds us of "On the Sidewalk Bleeding" because the boy wore the purple jacket so that he would fit in with the Royals. After he got stabbed and realized that no one was going to save him because they all thought he was a part of a gang. They were afraid to help him and it was at that point the boy realized he just wanted to be himself because that was what made him happy. He didn't care about being in the Royals anymore just because of a jacket. If he hadn't known about that purple jacket, he would have just been himself and therefore been happier not knowing all the different groups.

Don't destroy what you can't understand: This theme is similar to the theme in "Sir Gaiwan and the Loathly Lady". No one understands Charlie and the Loathly Lady and discriminate them throughout the story. They're not aware of their potential and ignore their feelings.

Man vs Society: Both Loathly Lady and Charlie are victimized throughout the story. Neither of them are appreciated until they prove themselves to be smarter and more attratcive.They also realize how shallow society can be as they are only respected once they become smarter and attractive.

Man vs Self: The Loathly Lady and Charlie are conflicted with themselves as they hate their condition and wish to better not only for themselves, but for others as well.

How are themes and conflicts connected to previous texts?
Now write your thoughts of the themes and how they relate to real life, other books, and the world

Flowers For Algernon
Nothing Lasts Forever
Ignorance is Bliss
Don't Destroy What You Can't Understand

If you were in there position, do you think you will actually care?
3. In the book, the scientists helped Charlie become smarter. Do you think they did this fame/money or did they genuinely care about Charlie?
4. In the book, Charlie had hope before and after the surgery.

Do you think hope is something that occurs often in this world or do we think more negatively?

Do you think hope helps people along the way?
5. Before Charlie had the surgery, Algernon was tested on first. Algernon is a lab mouse and he is not just an ordinary mouse because he had increased intelligence from the surgery.
After knowing this, how significant do you think Algernon is to Charlie?
1. How are mentally disabled people treated differently?
2. How has our society changed?
3. Has our society changed in a good or bad way? Give reason.
4. Charlie's mother wanted him to be smart and we know that
mothers would want the best for their children but when you constantly try to change them, instead of accepting you are only making them want to please others constantly.
Charlie's mother was a perfectionist because she cared about the image of her family and what other people would have thought about her if they found out she had a child with an extremely low IQ. She didn't actually think out how Charlie had felt which shows how much of a perfectionist she is.
Back in the 1950s, people were perfectionists so how are we as a society perfectionist?
Has the perfecting of someone changed much over the years?
We think the perfecting of someone hasn't changed much because people still want to be perfect not only mentally but physically too. There was no such thing as plastic surgery before but after it was known to make someone look perfect, people have spent millions of dollars perfecting themselves.
1. Nothing lasts forever: This theme is relevant to society because although it's proven that nothing can last forever, some people deny this fact and continue to believe that things won't change. For example, in the medieval times, people would create potions to live longer, however it's been proven not to work as it can actually shorten one's life span. Another example is all the products that are about anti aging. People cannot accept that one day, beauty will fade, and try to create ways to prevent it from fading.

2. Ignorance is bliss: This theme is relevant to society because it is like the saying "no news is good news" some people prefer to not know the truth and deny a fact. They don't mind not knowing the truth because it is what makes them happy.

3. Don't destroy what you can't understand: This theme is relevant to society because although we have developed since the 1950s, it's obvious there are still some people who won't accept other for the way they are. For example, bullying is getting worse with the help of social media and has killed many victims of this issue.

4. Man vs Society: This conflict between Charlie and the people surrounding him is relevant to his society during that time. The society tried to bring Charlie down by treating him as he was an entertainment. The society did not know what Charlie was going through during his operation or his childhood. Society tried to destroy Charlie's dreams of being smarter or any retarded person's dream.

5. Man vs self: The conflict between Charlie and himself is relevant to society because, like Charlie, we strive to impress everyone by trying to reach their standards but it's not healthy because we can lose our self and become depressed.

6.Man vs Technology: Like the scientists, lab animals, and Charlie - we depend on technology way too much. Although, sometimes it can be highly beneficial, it can let us down.

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