Free Study Guide: Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes|
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FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON: STUDY NOTES DOWNLOAD
Charlie concentrates on his work with desperate urgency. To Fay’s disgust,
he even moves a cot into the lab. He busily makes notes on "the calculus
of intelligence" and only the cages and mice and lab seem real to
him. Fay withdraws, jealous of his obsession with work. Alice helps him
now, with food and coffee, making no demands. Charlie is aware of a heightened
perception, where concentration and judgement are hypersensitive and acute.
Algernon lies almost unmoving in the lab, and his condition worsens all
Fay has a new lover. Charlie says, "It’s almost a relief."
He moves back to the lab and to Algernon. The white mouse greets him and
seems eager to work. He solves the maze twice, but fails the third time.
Then he goes into a wild frenzy, until, exhausted, he curls up into a
tight ball. Charlie is desperate to understand why, not only to help himself,
but in order to add even a scrap of knowledge to the work that has already
been done. If he can do this and help ‘others like myself,’ he feels he
‘will have lived a thousand normal lives.’
Charlie is filled with a joyful, bubbling energy and a zest for work.
This disturbs the others who think he’s, "killing himself at that
pace." He hopes that he will be able to get the knowledge he needs
in order to make a breakthrough. He finds out that, Fay’s lover is a dance
instructor at her favorite dance hall. However, it doesn’t bother him.
Charlie reaches a blind alley in his reasoning. He can’t answer the question about how Algernon’s regression affects the basis of the experiment. He decides to leave it for now, as pushing too hard makes his mind go blank. He goes to Mrs. Nemur’s cocktail party. Fay refuses his invitation to accompany him. Charlie feels isolated among the academicians and their financiers. Mrs. Nemur baits him about working on the ideas of others, like her husband. Charlie is annoyed with the discussion between Strauss and a sponsor, and is steered away by Strauss, just when he is about to interrupt the discussion. Charlie decides to sit quietly in a corner, but he’s had too many drinks. He begins muttering to himself, quite unaware of others’ reactions. The guests trickle away, and Nemur confronts Charlie, furious at his behavior. The two argue and Nemur calls him an ‘arrogant, self-centered, antisocial bastard.’ Charlie accuses Nemur of treating him as an experimental animal, "to be kept in a cage and displayed when necessary to reap the honors you seek." He says that he was better off before the operation as he then had friends. He feels that intelligence without the capacity to give and receive affection is sterile. He speaks of "Charlie Gordon" as another person waiting patiently inside himself.
In the middle of his "sermon," Charlie’s speech becomes slurred,
his language becomes limited, and the old Charlie is back. He makes it
to the bathroom just on time, and manages to get control of himself. Finally,
he insists on walking home alone. While in the bathroom he looks into
the mirror, to find the other Charlie looking questioningly at him. Charlie
raves at his other self, asserting that he won’t give up his intelligence
without a struggle, "I’m going to keep what they’ve given me and
do great things for the world and for other people like you." He
then leaves for home. Alone, he admits to himself that he has become what
Nemur has called him, and is therefore ashamed of himself. He seeks Fay’s
company but she is with her new lover. Charlie goes to bed and dozes off.
Suddenly at 4.30 a.m, the answer to all his queries comes to him, and
he is wide-awake!
Charlie discovers that, "artificially-induced intelligence deteriorates
at a rate of time directly proportional to the quantity of the increase."
He writes a letter to Prof. Nemur stating this and encloses all his notes
and mathematical analyses of data. He also christens his discovery as
the Algernon-Gordon Effect. Charlie also apologizes for the fact that,
through his discovery, he is negating the work done by the researchers.
After sending it, he turns to his immediate problem-what is to become
of himself? For the purpose of verification, Nemur sends Charlie’s report
to the top men in the field, but Charlie is confident about his findings.
He tells Alice about his discovery and she breaks down. Charlie is concerned
that, she should not feel guilty about his fate.
Charlie is in a state of suspense. All he can do is wait. He once again says
that he does not blame anyone, as the researchers had taken every precaution
in order to make sure that there is no physical danger. However, they
had failed to foresee the psychological pitfalls. Charlie’s main concern
now is, how much he can retain in the future.
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. 09 May 2017