Throughout their life what most individuals desire is to fulfill their dream. The chance to dream is given to all of us, but very few are capable of achieving their goal. In the story “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, a middle-aged mentally disabled man named Charlie Gordon, was selected by two scientists, Dr.
Nemur and Dr. Strauss to participate in an experimental surgery to triple his below average intelligence quotient (IQ). Once before Charlie, the method was used successfully on a white mouse named Algernon.
Charlie eagerly accepted, the offer to get to carry out his lifelong dream. Charlie should have had the operation because he became more socially aware, he was able to contribute his knowledge to science, and live out his life dream. Charlie should have had the operation done because he was capable of reevaluating his previous relationships. After Charlie had the surgery and he began to advance to a genius-level IQ, he is invited to a party by his co-workers, Joe Carp and Frank Reilly. Throughout the night Charlie realizes that his friends,”And the others liked to have me around all the time is to make fun of me” (231). Before having the surgery both, Frank and Joe appeared to be genuine friends with Charlie, but they both were using him for their entertainment. Charlie would not have been able to discover that the “friends” that he trusted, did not have good intentions for him without being more socially aware. During the peak period of the surgery’s after effects, Charlie invites his former adult night school teacher, Ms.
Kinnian, to celebrate his bonus from Donnegan’s Box Company. During the dinner, the two discuss how Charlie’s IQ has rapidly increased. Charlie also realizes how captivating Ms. Kinnian truly is and develops feelings of love for her. “The thought of leaving her behind makes me sad. I’m in love with Ms. Kinnian” (234). Even though Charlie had a friendly relationship with Ms.
Kinnian prior to having the operation, he has been able to expand that relationship more than he ever could have with a low IQ. Charlie was delighted to experience love for the first time and be able to express himself. In addition to being more socially aware, Charlie should have had the operation because he was able to give new and vital knowledge to science. After Algernon bit him, Charlie notices a sudden and drastic regression, in Algernon’s mental capabilities. Algernon displays many symptoms signaling a regression such as less motivation, less cooperation, and more. Charlie discovers that he too, like Algernon, will suffer a regression.
“I am grateful for the little bit that I here add to the human knowledge of the function of the human mind” (239). At the end of “Flowers for Algernon”, Charlie’s high IQ eventually reverts back to his original mental capability, though before the regression he was able to conduct significant research that allowed him to uncover that the operation created by Dr. Strauss and Dr. Nemur; is not a permanent method to increase the intellectual capabilities of the human brain. In the end, he is delighted that he was able to give back to others and educate them about the procedure and pave the way for better understanding of how the mind works; and the extraordinary abilities it has even though he regressed back to his previous state. Charlie should have chosen to have had the operation because he contributed to science, and also achieve his life dream of being smart. After returning to his original mental capability, Charlie concludes his journal entries by letting others in the story and the reader; learn about the experiences, he faced after the operation leading up to his regression.
“Im glad I got a second chanse to be smart becaus I lerned alot of things that I never new were in this world and Im grateful that I saw it all for a littel bit” (245). Although Charlie regresses back to his past mental capability, it is clear that Charlie was thankful for being given the opportunity to have such a life-changing procedure done to him; even if it was only for a limited time. Charlie feels lucky to be able to the experience events that he was never able to before and to gain knowledge about the world around him that he was not able to discover with a low IQ. Even though it was for a limited time, Charlie was able to make his dream of becoming intelligent a reality, a thing that not very many people are fortunate to do.In conclusion, Charlie made a great decision when he decided to go forward with the surgery. He was able to take his relationship with Ms. Kinnian to a more intimate connection than he could have had with his prior mental capabilities.
Charlie benefited from having the surgery because he was able to give back to those interested in the procedure by publishing a study based on the long-time effects of undergoing the operation. In addition, it gave him a new awareness and appreciation of his surroundings. Escaped slave and civil rights activist, Harriet Tubman once had said: “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Charlie did just that and had the strength, patience, and passion for fulfilling his life dream and make it a reality doing what few could accomplish.