Free Study Guide: Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes|
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FREE STUDY GUIDE FOR FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON BY DANIEL KEYES
To Charlieís great relief, Strauss explains that Algernon, too, has
had a similar operation and has taken a long time "to get smart."
Charlie now understands that this is the reason why he could not defeat
Algernon in the different races. Dr. Strauss tells Charlie that there
is a probability that Algernon will remain smart permanently. Dr Strauss
also tells Charlie that this is a good sign as he and Algernon have had
the same operation.
Charlie returns to the bakery to a chorus of jokes about the operation. Joe Carp asks him whether they "put any brains in." Charlie is tempted to reveal the facts, but doesnít. He is upset at finding a new boy, Ernie, doing his work. Mr. Donner consoles him, explaining how his best friend, Charlieís Uncle Hermann, had first brought him to work at the bakery. After Hermann dies, his mother admitted Charlie to the Warren Home. Then Donner had got him released for outside work placement. All this had happenned seventeen years ago. Donner promises Charlie that he will always have a job there, and that Ernie will eventually train as a baker. Charlie is puzzled when Ernieís mistakes are called "pulling a Charlie Gordon." He doesnít remember making such errors, but lets it pass as, "their all my good frends and we have lots of jokes and laffs here."
Charlie asks Mr. Donner whether he too could be an apprentice baker
like Ernie. Donner is stunned at these new signs of ambition in Charlie.
He puts him off gently. Charlie wishes his experiment was working and
he could "get smart like everybody else."
Strauss and Nemur visit Charlie to find out why his visits to the college have stopped. He explains he doesnít want to race with Algernon. Strauss says he need not, but his visits to the lab are essential. He lends him "a teeching machine that works like a T.V," which Charlie has to switch on before he goes to sleep. Charlie is mystified, but Strauss insists that he follow his instructions if he wants to get smart. He also explains to Charlie that, the changes in Charlie will be so slow, he wonít notice them - "like you donít notise how the hour hand on a clock moves."
When Nemur tells him how to operate the machine, Charlie demands to
know its effects. Nemur is furious, but Strauss pacifies him by pointing
out that thereís been a change in Charlie, he is beginning to question
authority. Nemur explains to Charlie that the machine will teach him things
before and during his sleep. It will also stimulate him to remember his
past. Charlie is scared. He asks when he can return to Miss Kinnianís
class and they tell him that she will give him special lessons at the
Charlie is annoyed by the "T.V" which keeps him up all night
- "How can I sleep with something yelling crazy things all night
in my ears." He asks, "if you can get smart when your going
to school, why do pepul go to school?" He is sure its not going to
work as heís been watching late late shows on T.V for a long time and
they havenít made him smart. He thinks maybe certain shows like quizzes
could do that.
The "T.V" disturbs his sleep, so he finds it hard to keep
awake in the daytime at work. He remembers how he first went to Miss Kinnianís
class. He had asked Joe Carp how he could learn to read but he had laughed
at him. But Fanny Berden at the bakery had overheard, and got the Centerís
address for him. He had been so excited that he had bought a newspaper,
planning to read it immediately "after I lerned!" He had met
Miss Kinnian there. She had been friendly and encouraging but had warned
him that it might take years for him to read.
Now that Charlie is beginning to remember his past, Nemur tells him he has
to have therapy sessions with Strauss, as "when you feel bad, you
talk to make it better." Charlie wonders why he should go as I donít
feel bad and I do plenty of talking all day." But Nemur insists on
it. Charlie still feels therapy is silly as he anyway writes his thoughts
down in the progress reports. So he takes the latest reports with him
and asks Strauss if "he could just read it and I could take a nap
on the couch. I was very tired because that T.V kept me up all nite."
Strauss refuses to listen to him and tells him that he has to talk. Charlie
begins to talk but falls asleep on the couch, in the middle of the session.
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