Describe the relationship between Charlie and Algernon in the novel Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Charlie, a mentally handicapped human, and Algernon, a mouse, are both "lab rats" used for an experiment. They are forced to compete with each to solve mazes meant to test their intelligence.

Charlie identifies with and develops feelings of compassion  for the mouse. However, at first, Charlie dislikes the mouse because it beats him all the time. He also has competitive feelings towards it. Charlie records the following:

 He says it took a long time with Algernon before he got 3 times smarter then he was before. Thats why Algernon beats me all the time because he had that opera· shun too. That makes me feel better. I coud probly do that amazed faster than a reglar mouse. Maybe some day III beat Algernon. Boy that would be something.

As Charlie's intelligence increases and he beats the mouse, he develops compassion and sympathy for the creature.

They let me hold him for a minit. Hes not so bad. Hes soft like a ball of cotton. He blinks and when he opens his eyes their black and pink on...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 628 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team