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progris riport 1

Dr Strauss says I should tipe evrey thing abot wat happeid to me in this all the tropes articel. I dont no why but he says its importint for me to remembir what happnd to me and what my experence was like. My name is Charlie Gordon and I werk in Donners bakery. I want to be smart, and I hop this articel helps me remember what happend to me while I was smart... yrs truly Charlie Gordon.

PROGRESS REPORT 2

Flowers for Algernon, a novel by Daniel Keyes, tells of a young man named Charlie Gordon who has an IQ of 68, but tries hard to learn and become normal. Charlie works at a bakery with people he considers his friends. His instructor, Alice Kinnian, teaches him at the Beakman College Institute for Retarded Adults, and she is the one who informs him of a possible cure: a surgery designed to improve his mental capacity. The people putting this surgery into action are looking for a human subject, having already had a successful result with the eponymous Algernon, a lab mouse.

Charlie gets the surgery and his intelligence quickly blooms. While this is happening, he falls in love with Alice, but soon finds that he cannot relate to her because he is much smarter than she is. As well, he discovers that his friends have not been as trustworthy as he thought they were, and he is given a device that allows him to recall memories from his childhood, finding even more incidences of trickery and ridicule. As a result, he becomes quite jaded and cynical.

His intelligence tops out at 185, where he is deemed a certified genius. At this point, he is frantically soaking up all the knowledge he can, and is becoming aware of a sharp decrease in intelligence happening in Algernon. Charlie begins to write an essay about his own experiences, matching them up to Algernon's, and publishes it. He is panicking because his fates are in the air when it comes to his brain power.

Told entirely in journal entries ("progress reports"), the book does a wonderful job of showing how Charlie's intelligence changes. It is often used in School Study Media.

It's one of the more famous books that has been banned from schools, thanks to its sexual content and profanity (except for certain copies that have it severely reduced, so as to avoid it.)

The original short story won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1960. The novel won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1966 and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1967.

Adapted into a film called Charly starring Cliff Robertson in 1968. Robertson won a Best Actor Academy Award for the role.

Also adapted into a musical known variously as Charlie and Algernon in London and by the original title on Broadway. In America, at least, it lasted only 17 performances.

For a similar story with a more sci-fi edge, see also the In Name Only film version of The Lawnmower Man.


Flowers for Algernon is the Trope Namer for:

Tropes used in Flowers for Algernon include:
  • Abusive Parents: Charlie's mother. She first refused to acknowledge that Charlie is mentally disabled, and punishes him for it. When she later gives birth to a daughter, who is of normal intelligence, she blatantly favors her over Charlie, and eventually sends him away to an institution.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian:
    • Dr. Strauss' sessions are pretty classic Freudian psychotherapy.
    • Charlie's sexual issues are due to traumatic experiences with his mother; he almost has a reverse Oedipus Complex, fearing his mother and relying on his father for protection.
  • Betty and Veronica: Charlie is the Archie, Alice is the Betty, Fay is the Veronica.
  • Break the Cutie: Charlie.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Never actually occurs in the story, but Charlie's mom is worried that it will. This might be part of the reason she sent Charlie away in the first place.
  • Coming of Age Story: An interesting version, since Charley is already an adult, but has a mind of a child and must grow up quickly. In the end while he returns to his former intelligence level, he is still not as ignorant as he used to be.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In the end, Charlie decides to move away because he hates seeing Alice and everybody else feeling sorry for him after he loses his intelligence.
  • Downer Ending: The last fifty-or-so pages are so depressing it's amazing the book doesn't spontaneously combust. Furthermore, Algernon and Charlie had the same surgery performed on that, and Algernon ended up degenerating and dying. What do you think happened to Charlie?
  • Dramatic Irony: A Warren carer lecturing the visiting genius Charlie he has no clue what it feels like being retarded.
  • Dr. Jerk: Professor Nemur.
  • Dumb Is Good: Alice tells Charlie that he was a better man when he was retarded--he was more compassionate, warm, and friendly. Charlie, on the other hand, refuses to accept it. While it's true that Charlie starts becoming a Jerkass when he gains his intelligence, he lampshades this trope by saying that there's nothing wrong with a good person trying to be smarter.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The only truly sane character seems to be Alice.
  • Executive Meddling: Daniel Keyes' first attempt to publish Flowers For Algernon almost ran afoul of this; the editor he took it to demanded that he give the story a happy ending where Charlie keeps his enhanced intelligence. Fortunately, every writer Keyes asked about it told him to refuse. Of course, any reader can understand why the editor would ask that...
  • First Girl Wins: And eventually loses.
  • Evil Matriarch: Rose.
  • Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: The Trope Namer.
  • Foregone Conclusion: After seeing the first hints of Algernon's deteriorating abilities, it's pretty obvious the same thing is going to happen to Charlie.
  • Hysterical Woman: Charlie's mother.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Charlie from suffers this both while retarded and a genius.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends
  • In Vino Veritas: super-genius Charlie Gordon reverts back to a barely-functional moron (in the clinical sense) when he gets drunk.
  • Inherited Illiteracy Title: Not the book itself, but The Film of the Book is called Charly.
  • Inkblot Test: When Charlie is given one at the beginning, he's unable to understand the concept, thinking that he's supposed to find some sort of hidden picture. A few weeks later, he's given the test again, and gets angry because he thinks they changed the test on him.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: In the beginning, Charlie doesn't understand that his co-workers mock him and treat him like dirt. He describes their taunts and insults as funny jokes.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged
  • Insufferable Genius
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Charlie becomes so intelligent that everyone around him seems like a moron.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That!: Charlie is honestly shocked when his colleagues don't share his genius-level talents, such as reading multiple languages.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Charlie after the operation. Dr. Nemur is even before it.
  • Jerkass: Somewhat justified. After Charlie exceeds the intelligence of even the scientists who work on him, he repeatedly looks down on those around him for not being at his level of super-intelligence--even criticizing Strauss for not being fluent in as many languages (20!) as he is. However, Charlie makes it clear that he's bitter about the way others had treated him when he was retarded, as well as the fact that he finds the intelligence flip ironic.
    • He's also called out on it later in the novel, and admits to being one, which makes him somewhat even more of a Woobie in hindsight.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Are they ever. Charlie is beaten, bullied and possibly molested more than once throughout the novel.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Charlie's mother.
  • Mad Artist: Fay.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Also Fay.
  • Meaningful Name: Norma. [1]
  • Mills and Boon Prose: Used in the sex scene between Charlie and Alice. It works, because it's used to show how different it is when he's with a woman he loves, than when he's just with a woman who enjoys sex.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Charlie doesn't mind that Fay has many, many other partners than him; they're more of Friends with Benefits than an actual couple.
  • No Medication for Me
  • No Pregger Sex: Charlie halts a near-sexual encounter after finding out that the woman was pregnant. He is understandably squicked, though she is not.
  • Omniglot: One of the skills Charlie gains is mastery of about twenty languages, which is useful for his research.
  • Pastimes Prove Personality: When he's at the peak of his intelligence, Charlie enjoys classical music, opera and fine literature. When he's at his baseline intelligence, he likes comic books and television.
  • Person as Verb: Pulling a "Charlie Gordon" is messing up.
  • Power Trio:
    • Charlie: Self-doubting, rational, and scientifically-minded, emotionally unfulfilled (Superego).
    • Fay Lilliman: Overtly sexual, artistic, and whimsical (Id).
    • Alice Kinnian: Compassionate, emotionally mature, educated, balances intellect and emotions (Ego).
    • Of the three scientists who work on the project, Dr. Nemur is Id (possessed by a drive to further his career without paying much heed to ethics), Dr. Strauss is Superego (calm, cool-headed and reasonably skeptical) and Bert is Ego (realistic, pragmatic, cares about both the project's success and Charlie's feelings).
  • Really Gets Around: Fay.
  • Science Is Bad: Some of the scientists in this story border Complete Monster territory.
    • It's worth noting that Charlie himself is a much better scientist than they are in the first place, so this trope probably doesn't apply.
  • Science Marches On: See All Psychology Is Freudian. Virtually all of the psychology is outdated by today's standards, and the medical ethics aren't any better.
  • Scrapbook Story
  • Secondary Character Title: Flowers For Algernon refers to the protagonist's fellow test subject - a white mouse. Averted in the film adaptation Charly.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Charlie regrets losing his naive, dreamless perception of the world when he was retarded and later, his vastly increased intelligence.
  • Shout-Out: To Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Also, one of the books Charlie reads while his intelligence is decreasing is Don Quixote, although he doesn't mention it by name.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: When all of Charlie's sexual experiences are passionless, confusing, or painful until he has sex with Alice Kinnian, the only woman he's ever truly loved.
    • When Charlie takes a tour through the sanitarium that he would have ended up in (and eventually does), he sees two (male) inmates holding each other as lovers. The doctor simply says that, since this is all they have, this is who they turn to for love. (This probably outraged the Moral Guardians even more than any scene with Fay.)
  • Spoiled Brat: Charlie's younger sister Norma is this growing up due to her mother's Parental Favoritism. She grew out of it in adulthood but still retained a mild degree of neediness.
  • Stylistic Suck: Charlie's early entries, before he gets the operation, and his last entries.
  • Super Speed Reading: At the apex of his intelligence, Charlie reads a page per second. He even has to be given a private room in the library lest people gather around him in curiosity.
  • Techno Babble: Some (mercifully short) explanations of the neuroscience behind Charlie's transformation. Essentially, the process is Applied Phlebotinum though.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Charlie pays for a meal without eating it after seeing how the restaurant treats a slow busboy.
  • The Unfavorite: Charlie's mother Rose preferred her daughter Norma to her son Charlie due to Norma having an average IQ compared to Charlie's very low 68. This made Norma a Spoiled Brat and left Charlie mostly confused and afraid of his mother who would beat him for perfectly natural things like having an erection as would any pubescent teen boy. Terrified he would do something to Norma, Rose eventually forced Charlie's father to have him taken away by threatening to kill Charlie if he didn't.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Though we can understand what he doesn't, through his Innocent Inaccurate descriptions.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Justified. The narrator's use of punctuation improves and then declines in tandem with his augmented intellect.
    • Charlie's two entries after Alice teaches him punctuation are overflowing with it. The next one contains a breakthrough as he's finally using punctuation properly.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Charlie's mother, to Charlie.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Charlie's mother Rose lived under the delusion that one day her son would be just like--or better than--everyone else. When his little sister Norma came along, Rose abandoned this hope and just heaped attention on Norma instead (see The Unfavorite).
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Charlie can no longer work at the bake shop, and when he regresses, he still remembers a thing or two about humanity.

progris report 3

I red my articel again but it dont mak any sense to me. I did somthing but I dont remembir what. I gess I did it for all this dumb pepel like me in Warren in the world. But Im gone to try and get smart to get that feeling agen.

Goodby Miss Kinnian and dr Strauss and evrybody on all the tropes...

P.S. please if you guys get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard.

Notes

  1. Normal.
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