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Jacob Shull

Mrs. Szymczak


21 February, 2017

Flowers for Algernon Argumentative Essay

In Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes, Charlie Gordon, a man with a 68

intelligence quotient score gets a life changing surgery that triples his intelligence. The author,

Daniel Keyes, got the idea for the short story when a young disabled boy asked him, Mr. Keyes,

if I try really hard and become smart, will they put me in a normal class like all the other kids

(Keyes 433)? Charlie Gordon is like this boy, he has the drive to become smart, and wants to be

like others around him. Since he had the motivation to become smarter, he was chosen to

undergo the operation. Charlie happily accepted when the doctors offered to perform this surgery

on him, despite knowing the negative effects. In the end, Charlie gains almost superhuman levels

of intelligence, but he is soon stripped of it, and returns to his former intelligence level. Charlie

was better off gaining the intelligence, because he had more knowledge after the surgery, he was

happier after surgery, and he was practically better off with the intelligence.

Charlie was better off gaining the intelligence. He had more knowledge after the surgery

than before the surgery. He had lots of knowledge, he learned many other languages, and his

reading and writing skill improved greatly. Quotes from Charlie before surgery, This test lookd

easy becus I coud see the picturs (Keyes 411). progris riport 2-martch (Keyes 410). These two

quotes show Charlies subpar spelling skills, and subpar train of thought. Here are two quotes

from Charlie after surgery, As you see, my experiments are completed. I have included in my

report all of my formulae, as well as mathematical analysis in the appendix. Of course, these
should be verified (Keyes 426). The surgical stimulus to which we were both subjected has

resulted in an intensification and acceleration of all mental processes. The unforeseen

development, which I have taken the liberty of calling the Algernon-Gordon Effect (Keyes

426). The difference between the first set of quotes, and the second set of quotes shows that

Charlie had more knowledge after the surgery. Charlie also became multilingual after the

surgery, I thought there was something wrong with my eyes. Then I realized I could no longer

read German. I tested myself in other languages. All gone. (Keyes 428).

Another reason Charlie was better off gaining intelligence is because he was happier

post-surgery. On page 427 in Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes, Charlie states, Oh,

God, please don't take it all away. This statement proves that Charlie liked having his high

intelligence, and was happier after his surgery. Charlie also said, Please ... please let me not

forget how to read and write (Keyes 429). Charlie also remarks, I guess the same thing

[regression of intelligence] is or will soon be happening to me. Now that it's definite, I don't want

it to happen (Keyes 427). This again, proves that once Charlie gained the intelligence, he liked

it, and didnt want it taken away. However, it can be argued that Charlie was actually happier

before the surgery, and was therefore better off not gaining intelligence. However, the post-

surgery Charlie states, I see that even in my dullness I knew that I was inferior, and that other

people had something I lacked-something denied me (Keyes 424). This statement by Charlie

proves that he was not truly happy before his surgery. Also this sentence states, Charlie is saying

that despite his former lack of knowledge, he knew all along that he was different, and had less

intelligence than others all along. Charlie could not have been happier knowing he was less

intelligent compared to others, then having superior knowledge when compared to others, and

knowing it too.
The final reason Charlie is better off gaining the intelligence, is that he was practically

better off with the intelligence. This is proved in Charlies realization, that Joe Carp and Frank

Reilley, two of Charlies co-workers, were not his friends, but in fact bullies who took advantage

of his low intelligence for their own pleasure. This is proved when Charlie states, We had a lot

of fun at the factery todayTheir really my friends and they like me. Sometimes somebody will

say hey look at Joe or Frank or George he really pulled a Charlie Gordon. I dont know why they

say that but they always laft. (Keyes 414). Using this quote, it can be very easily inferred that

people at Charlies workplace, a factory, make fun of him, and take advantage of his naiveness.

Charlie also says, Joe Carp said I shoud show the girls how I mop out the toilet in the factory

and he got me a mop. I showed them and everyone laffed when I told that MrDonnegan said I

was the best janiter he ever had because I like my job and do it good and never come late or miss

a day except for my operashun (Keyes 415). Again, people use Charlies low common sense to

trick him, this time into getting drunk. When he was drunk, he was probably lured into hurting

himself, or doing something dangerous, for the amusement of other people. It can be argued, that

what Charlie learns about Frank, Joe, and others hurts him more than it helps him. However, a

minor Oh, what was I thinking, is a lot better than Charlie getting tricked into hurting himself,

and embarrassing himself publicly.

Charlie was better off gaining the intelligence, because he had more knowledge after the

surgery, he was happier post-surgery, and he was practically better off gaining the intelligence.

Charlies intelligence tripled after the surgery, his spelling grammar, and train of thought

improved greatly, and Charlie became multilingual after the surgery. Charlie preferred having a

high intelligence, over having a low intelligence, as proved by these two quotes, I have often

reread my progress reports and seen the illiteracy, the childish naivete, the mind of low
intelligence peering from a dark room, through the keyhole, at the dazzling light outside

(Keyes 424). Oh, God, please don't take it all away (Keyes 427). Charlie was practically better

off gaining the intelligence. Everyday tasks such as reading and writing became easier. Charlie

also came to the realization that Joe Carp and Frank Reilly were not his friends, they were

bullies. They took advantage of Charlies former lack of knowledge to have fun at his expense.

This is apparent is this paragraph, This morning Amos Borg who is the 4 man at Donnegans

used my name when he shouted at Ernie the office boy. Ernie lost a packige. He said Ernie for

god sake what are you trying to be a Charlie Gordon. I dont understand why he said that. I never

lost any packiges (Keyes 414). It was better for Charlie to realize Joe and Frank were

manipulating and bullying him, and having more knowledge after surgery, rather than falling for

Joe and Franks tricks every time he is around them, and having little intelligence.
Work Cited

Keyes, Daniel, et al. Explorations in Literature. Explorations in Literature, Classic, Scott,

Foresman, Glenview, IL, 1991, pp. 410-433.