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Charlie Gordon from “Flowers for Algernon”

Updated August 12, 2022
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Charlie Gordon from “Flowers for Algernon” essay

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Do you remember when the last time you wanted something so bad was. Do you remember how you would do anything to get it. Charlie Gordon, a 37 year old man with a learning disability, did exactly that. In the story Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes, Charlie Gordon gets a chance to alter his intelligence through an operation.

The only setback to the operation is that the long-term outcomes of the operation are unknown. But Charlie didn’t know that until later in the story. The operation does succeed, but later Charlie is sent back into the life he tried to avoid. The operation hurt Charlie in a number of ways. But Charlie is a hero to me in a way the he persevered. He also did something amazing for science. Charlie Gordon was a motivated man who always put the most effort he could. He struggled to understand in the world he wanted to be a part of. A statement such as, “I’m gonna try awfully hard,” is often heard spoken by Charlie.

But as the story goes on, his statement changes from, “I’m gonna try awfully hard” to, “Maybe it’s just easier not to do what I say I’m going to do.” The thought to try his best never occurs. He lost one of his most valuable qualities due to his need to fit in. Before Charlie knew the truth of his life and was able to look back on it, he didn’t know of some horrible feelings. He never had to feel ugly, unwanted, alone, and most of all, ashamed. After finding out how all of the men he thought were his friends only used him for free laughs, Charlie feels so humiliated. “What did I do to make them hate me?” Though Charlie never had true friends, was he not still happy with them? Was it truly horrible for him to believe he was well liked? The operation caused people to become frightened of him and separate themselves from him. That’s how he got fired from his job after he had the operation. Everyone was jealous of his intelligence. He becomes progressively more lonely.

“I find that I don’t communicate much anymore.” The only reason Charlie wanted the operation was to communicate with others on a higher level; but it did just the opposite! Shame, loneliness, and a lack of caring are the opposite of what a person wants to feel. If a person isn’t happy with who they are, there is no guarantee that they will be happier as someone else.

In my opinion Charlie should’ve made the best of who he was, whether good or bad. Getting the operation did not make anything better in the end. I could go on about what a mistake it was, but I think Charlie says it best, “Now I’m more alone than ever before.”

Charlie Gordon from “Flowers for Algernon” essay

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Charlie Gordon from “Flowers for Algernon”. (2022, Jun 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/charlie-gordon-from-flowers-for-algernon/

FAQ

How would you describe Charlie Gordon in The Flowers of Algernon?
Flowers for Algernon Charlie is a 32-year-old man with an I.Q. of 68, who has struggled his whole life toward the goal of "being smart." This goal is actually his mother's obsession, and when she realizes the futility of it, she threatens to kill him.
What happens to Charlie Gordon in Flowers for Algernon?
Charlie Gordon's Diminishing Intelligence Eventually, Algernon dies . With the worry of starting to experience a diminishing intelligence, Charlie visits his mother and sister in an attempt to emotionally reconcile his life pre-surgery with what he now knows.
What is Charlie Gordon's personality?
kind, hardworking, and naive . Although his coworkers at Dormer's Bakery often make him the butt of their jokes, Charlie still considers them his friends, laughing at himself along with him. Charlie's simple existence is upended by his operation.
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