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NAME:_________________________

SECTION:_______________________

Flowers for Algernon


By Daniel Keyes
Study Guide

DIRECTIONS: Answer the questions IN COMPLETE SENTENCES on your own


paper.

Keep these questions in mind as you read Flowers for Algernon:


WHAT GIVES A PERSON VALUE? HOW IMPORTANT IS INTELLIGENCE TO ONE’S
HAPPINESS?

Progress Report 1
1. How old would you guess Charlie is from his writing?

2. How old does Charlie tell you he is?

GRAMMAR BREAK!!
On your own paper, rewrite Charlie’s first journal entry using correct spelling
and mechanics.

Progress Report 2
3. Why do you think the doctors performed the psychological tests on Charlie before
they would experiment on him?

Progress Report 3
4. What are the doctors asking Charlie to do?

5. Why can Algernon beat Charlie in the maze? Could any mouse beat him?

6. Explain why Charlie’s ideas about the Rorschach and Thematic Apperception tests
are humorous.

**Journal for five minutes on your own paper: What aspect of yourself are
you most dissatisfied with? If there were an operation available to change
it, would you have that operation? How might your life be affected if you
did?

Progress Report 4
7. What is the significance of a 68 I.Q.? What is an average I.Q.?

8. Algernon’s motivation is cheese. What is Charlie’s motivation?

9. What are the doctors’ reasons for wanting to use Charlie?

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SECTION:_______________________

10. Does Charlie understand what is going to happen to him?

**NOTETAKING: What is the difference between 1st person narration and an


unreliable narrator. Define both terms.

Progress Report 5

**Journal for five minutes on your own paper: Do you think Charlie made the
right decision to have the operation? Would you have made the same
decision?

Progress Report 6 & 7


11. Do you see any changes in Charlie’s journal entries so far? If so, what are they?

Progress Report 8
12. How does Charlie feel about his job?

13. “So far Algernon looks like he mite be smart perminent.” What does this
statement imply?

3/25
14. Are Joe and Frank really Charlie’s friends? Why does Charlie think they are?

15. How do you and your friends treat people who aren’t “smart?” Do you ever
make jokes about people who are different? Give examples.

3/28
16. What kind of changes are you seeing in Charlie’s writing?

3/29
17. Is it possible to learn while you sleep? Give reasons for your opinion.

4/3
18. What is the difference between conscious and subconscious?

19. What will happen to Charlie’s relationship with Joe and Frank as Charlie gets
smarter?

4/6
20. What important event occurred between Algernon & Charlie? What does this
event mean in the story and to them?

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NAME:_________________________
SECTION:_______________________
21. What change do we see in the relationship between Charlie & Algernon?

**Journal for five minutes on your own paper: Have you ever seen someone
get exploited/made fun of and not know? Write about that OR just a time
when
you saw someone getting picked on because they were different.

4/9
22. Contrast Charlie’s conclusion about the picture of Robinson Crusoe to his earlier
conclusions.

4/10
23. What has Charlie learned to do?

4/14
24. Why is “Why” an important question to ask? What does this question show the
reader/ audience?

4/15
25. Why is Miss Kinnian worried about Charlie?

4/16

GRAMMAR BREAK!!
On your own paper, correct Charlie’s passage of 4/16.

4/17
26. Why do you think Charlie doesn’t understand punctuation?

4/18
27. Is Charlie learning the same way you and I learn? Explain.

4/20
28. What do you notice about Charlie’s punctuation?

29. What is Charlie realizing about his friends?

4/21
30. Why is Mrs. Flynn treating Charlie funny?

31. Why doesn’t Charlie know what a Rorschach Test is?

4/22
32. Contrast this Rorschach test to Charlie’s previous Rorschach test.
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NAME:_________________________
SECTION:_______________________

4/25
33. Why are people reacting as they are to Charlie now?

4/27
34. What do Dr. Nemur and Dr. Strauss feel is important in life?

35. What might that mean for Charlie?

4/28
36. What’s the possibility Charlie didn’t want to think of?

4/30
37. Why do you think the people at the factory have turned against Charlie?

5/15
38. What do you notice about Charlie’s perception of the doctors?

39. How is it humorous that Charlie expected the doctors to know Greek, Latin, and
Hebrew?

40. What does the look on Dr. Strauss’ face mean?

5/18
41. How is Charlie handling his new intelligence? Is it making him happier?

5/20
42. Why does Charlie react the way he does in the restaurant?

43. Review and discuss Charlie’s realizations in the column of page 333. Does he
believe he’s better off knowing these things?

**JOURNAL: Have you ever had an experience like this where you’ve found
out after the fact that someone was making fun of you or saying bad things about
you? Were you better off when you found out about it?

5/23
44. Why is Algernon’s behavior a bad sign for Charlie?

5/24
45. What new behaviors is Algernon exhibiting? What does this mean for Charlie?
(Note: What literary element is being represented here?)

5/25
46. Why has time suddenly become very important for Charlie?

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NAME:_________________________
SECTION:_______________________

47. Why would the doctors ask Charlie not to come back to the lab anymore?

6/4
48. What does Charlie believe about the experiment done on him and Algernon?

6/5
49. Try to paraphrase Charlie’s hypothesis. (Paraphrase: Restate in your own words
by shortening the overall number of words in the original.)

6/15
50. How is Charlie’s deterioration paralleling Algernon’s?

**JOURNAL: Charlie’s deterioration appears to be out of his control. How


much control do you believe you have over your own life? Over things that
happen to you? How does it feel when you don’t have control over what
happens to you?

6/21
51. Is Charlie better off now than before the operation? Why or why not?

6/22
54. Why is Charlie’s deterioration so rapid (refer to his hypothesis)?

7/25
55. Discuss what happened to Charlie’s and Miss Kinnian’s relationship and how she
might feel about it.

7/27
56. How is Charlie’s view of his friends changing again?

7/28
57. What’s Charlie’s plan for the future?

58. Why is Charlie so concerned about marking Algernon’s grave? (Symbolism)

59. What do you think might happen to Charlie?

QUESTIONS TO PONDER… [PICK Two OF THE FOUR Q’S to answer, write 4-5 sentences]

Was Charlie truly capable of making the decision to have this operation?

Was this experiment ethical? (Was the experiment moral/ right or wrong?)

Was Charlie better off for having the operation, even if the effects didn’t last?

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NAME:_________________________
SECTION:_______________________

Does intelligence have anything to do with happiness? IS ignorance bliss?

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