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Alexander Gassis

Mrs. Szymczak

ALA 7

5 February 2017

Flowers for Algernon Argumentative Essay

I am ashamed (Keyes 418). Charlie Gordon is ashamed because he

just found out that his friends have been making fun of him. Charlie

Gordon is a slightly impaired, thirty-year old man in the science fiction short

story Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. In the short story, Charlie has

an operation that triples his intelligence from an IQ of 68 to 204. While

Charlie is excited about this gain of intelligence, he discovers that being

super knowledgeable is not as great as he originally thought. Charlie was

better off not gaining intelligence because the operation was morally

inappropriate, he became less happy, and he lost the ability to be carefree.

One reason that Charlie was better off not gaining intelligence was that

the operation was morally inappropriate. Morally inappropriate describes

something that is against Gods plan or design for his people. God made all

people different with unique talents and did this for a certain reason. When

Charlie has an intelligence-altering operation, Charlie is basically throwing

Gods plan for him away. Maybe Gods plan included Charlie meeting Dr.

Strauss and Dr. Nemur, having the operation, becoming smarter, and
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understanding who his true friends were. It is better to know the truth

instead of living under a lie. Living under a lie Charlie was happier than

when he knew the truth. The anger and sadness Charlie felt only proves it

was not Gods intended plan for Charlie. You used to be a good,

dependable, ordinary man (Keyes 415). Charlie had not been very bright,

but before the operation he still was honest and friendly.

Charlie was better off not gaining intelligence was because he had

been happier before becoming smart. With an IQ of 68, Charlie had a

positive attitude, was very optimistic, and believed that everyone was good.

After he became super smart, Charlie understood that people had been

making fun of him. This caused him to become extremely sensitive,

ashamed, and felt ironically stupid for not realizing the truth. When he

started to regress from an IQ of 204 back into impaired, Charlie writes in his

journal, Its hard to throw off thoughts of suicide (Keyes 413). Charlie

never thought about suicide before the operation. The suicidal thoughts

show Charlie should not have had the operation.

One more reason that Charlie was better off not gaining intelligence

was that he was carefree before the operation. Before his intelligence was

altered, people made fun of him, but he did not know that so he was not

offended by it. One example of how this is true is the story of Adam and Eve.

God told Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of knowledge, but Adam and

Eve did anyway. Even though the devil had tricked them into eating the fruit,
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Adam and Eve were still punished (The Catholic Teen Bible, Gen. 3.1-19).

The story of Adam and Eve is similar to what happened to Charlie because

for Charlie the devil was his mind telling him that the operation would make

him smarter and people would like him more. The tree with the tempting

fruit was the operation. The knowledge Charlie got was that he was unable

to speak simply enough for others to understand him. This is why he was

better off not gaining intelligence.

The short story Flowers for Algernon says that Charlie wants to be

smart, so he gets the operation. Only later does Charlie realize that even

though he is super smart not everything is as great as he thought it would

be. Charlie would have been better off not ever having the intelligence-

altering operation because he would have had a carefree life, he would not

done anything morally incorrect by changing himself, and he would have

stayed happy. While intelligence is great, everyone should still remember

that all people are great no matter what their differences are.
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Works Cited

Keyes, Daniel, et al. Flowers for Algernon. Explorations in Literature,

Classic, Scott,

Foresman, Glenview, IL, 1991.

The Catholic Teen Bible. Revised, Wichita, KS, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing

Division, 2011.