Should scientists conduct experiments on human beings? I need to write a five paragraph essay and relate it to Flowers for Algernon.

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shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel Flowers for Algernon, the main character, Charley, has an operation that improves his intelligence. The story’s significance lies in the effect this change has on Charley and his happiness. The story is a warning about the dangers of meddling with the essential makeup of a person. It is also a comment on societal values, particularly the degree to which we value intelligence.

To relate the topic to the story, you have to look at the effect of the operation on Charley. Yes, he becomes more intelligent, but does he become happier? The answer reveals something about the nature of a human being’s ability to experience happiness. The smarter Charley is not a happier Charley. Therefore, intelligence does not necessarily translate into a more fulfilling life.

If scientists experiment on people, they will do so with the assumption that they know what is best for them. The story tells us that this is not true, and that there will be unforeseen negative consequences.