Summary And Review Of Flowers For Algernon

Flowers for Algernon is a short story written by the American writer Daniel Keyes. The genre of the story is science fiction. It was first published in April 1959 to “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The story of the Flowers for Algernon was inspired by the writer’s reality. The short story was expanded later to a novel with longer events.

The story of the Flowers for Algernon was written through the writer’s past self-conflicts which he had when he was at a young age. The writer was driven by his parents into a pre-medical education instead of the writing career, that he was not glad by it the least bit. The story, in the beginning, talks about a thirty-two years old man called Charlie Gordon; who is mentally handicapped and has an IQ of 68. Charlie Gordon, the main character was working in a company as a janitor. Charlie Gordon was having a terrible issue regarding reading and writing and was sent to the institution to develop these skills. The institution he was sent has a special needs class which can help the people like him to improve quickly.

Moreover, the short story was written in a first-person narration, where the protagonist “Charlie Gordon” wrote the daily progressive reports about himself talking about the changes in his personal life and the improvements after the surgery. And once he was chosen by his teacher Alice Kinnian to go through an experimental surgical technique known in the entire story as “Operashun” as he spelt at the beginning of his progress reports. The purpose of this surgery is to increase his level of intelligence or IQ so he can be more brilliant and smarter. He was the first human being to go through this kind of experiment, and the mouse “Algernon” was the first one to undergo this surgery. Later on, Algernon becomes Gordon’s friend and amaze him by solving the hard puzzles easily and by beating him while competing. Those puzzles were tested on Algernon’s to measure his level of smartness and his development.

In his first few days of the surgery, Gordon was depressed because he was not solving the things as much as Algernon, he felt weak but after a few days, he was capable to beat Algernon. Also, he started reading day by day until he improved in his writing which can be shown in his reports after the surgery. His writing became clearer and his spelling became more accurate. After the surgery, his co-workers started to notice that he became a genius and was astonished by his intelligence. As in envy, they started a petition to get him fired and once he knew about their transparency he left directly without saying a word. Out of a sudden, Algernon’s intelligence had decreased insanely after Gordon’s surgical experiment as he was less excited to solve the problems as before. A few days later Algernon dies, and Gordon was truly frustrated about Algernon’s death and buried him in the backyard of his house.

Later then, he realizes that someday he will be like Algernon, and his abilities will fade away. So, he started research called as Algernon-Gordon effect, which questions how the experiment could affect their brain cells after a short time of it. While he was in the middle of the research, he started to feel weak as he could not read what he had written at the beginning of the research. Plus, he could not write the rest because his spelling, and grammar skills had decreased until everyone noticed it. In the end, he returns to his old work. He feels pathetic and runaway psychiatric institution called Warren, while he was there, he could not bear how he has been and killed himself and noted that someone should keep flowers over Algernon’s grave in the backyard.

To sum up, I did not like the ending of the story because Gordon should be alive and not dead instead, he could be sent to a therapist so he can help him in recovering after his experiment as the theme of love should have appeared when Gordon felt that he is weak, so he could be recovered by his teacher’s care because love can heal human souls.

16 December 2021
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