The novel, "Flowers For Algernon" written by Daniel Keys, has an unusual plot. Charlie Gordon, the main character, is a gentle, amiable, oddly engaging young man. Until the age of thirty-two, he had lived in a kind of mental twilight. He knew knowledge was important and had learned to read and write after a fashion. He also knew that he wasn't nearly as bright as most of the people around him. At one point he hears about an operation that had been performed on a mouse which increased his intelligence. When Charlie tries to match his mental ability with that of the mouse, he realizes that the mouse is far brighter than he. This starts him thinking about a similar operation for himself.
The main characters of the story are Charlie, who is a mentally retarded individual involved in a remarkable experiment which increased his IQ, Alice, a teacher at the special education faculty at Beekman College who taught Charlie how to read and write, the professors who performed the experiment on Charlie, Fay, one of Charlie's acquaintances which he meets as the book progresses, and last but not least Algernon.
The novel is exciting and contains very original material. The moods which are created are ones of sorrow, anger, and guilt. One of the elements of the story which contributes greatly to the mood the reader experiences would be the plot. In the story, Charlie, is subject to an experiment which increases his intelligence in hopes of knowing more in the soul purpose of impressing people to gain friends. Unfortunately some of his anticipations were not met.
The main characters in the novel include Charlie, Alice, Algernon, and Fay, a character who did not make much of an appearance, but in my eyes believed, that she played a very important part in Charlie's involvement in trying to sort out his past and figure out his present and future plans. Charlie is a mentally retarded person who feels that impressing people and gaining friends is a top priority. He hears about an experiment which could possibly make him smart and volunteers for a special brain related operation.
As the book progresses, Charlie goes through dramatic changes mentally, but instead of achieving his goal, he actually is looked on in the same way if not worse. For example, at Charlie's old work his "friends" made fun of him and enjoyed his company just because Charlie had amused them. Yet after the operation, Charlie discovers that he had not made his friends like him more, but instead had pushed them away. Charlie realizes what his "friends" had done to him in the past, and starts to look down upon them.
Alice, Charlie's teacher, is the person who introduced Charlie to the idea of giving the experiment a chance. She believes that Charlie has the determination, desire, and will-power to make the experiment work. Later on in the book, she gets emotionally involved with Charlie and helps Charlie learn more about himself.
Algernon, is a lab animal who also underwent the experiment and it has made him smarter than the average mouse. Algernon plays a very important part in the novel because he represents Charlie and foreshadows what will happen to Charlie later on in the book.
Fay, is an artist who certainly has views on life which can be rarely found in an individual. As the book progresses, Fay, helps Charlie reveal his physical and emotional capabilities.
There are many exciting events which occur in the book, but the one which was the most memorable for me was when Charlie was trying to find what had gone wrong in the experiment before the inevitable happened to him. After he discovered what had gone wrong and started to descend the escalator of intelligence, he made several desperate attempts to try to walk up on the escalator that was going down.
The only thing that I do not agree with is the conclusion of the novel. If I would make a change I would write about what happened with the experiment after Charlie Gordon's death. An example of this would be possible progress and success in the field, or maybe because of the events which had occurred in the past in this field, it was given up for dead, or maybe Fay or Alice had conceived a child which in turn leads into a sequel.
The novel, "Flowers For Algernon", is an excellent book to read because it makes one think of how a mentally retarded person feels. This book has made me realize how lucky I am.