In "Flowers for Algernon," by Daniel Keyes, Charlie says that people aren't who he thought they were. How is this true?

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Charlie, in "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes, becomes smarter and smarter due to his operation, he realizes that his so-called friends were not who he had thought they were. Before the operation, the men he worked with would often play practical jokes and sometimes some very mean jokes on Charlie. He would laugh right along with them because he did not realize they were making fun of him or that the joke was at his expense. Whenever anyone did something stupid, the men called it "pulling a Charlie Gordon." In one of Charlie's early progress reports, he writes about a party the men at the factory invited him to. He didn't realize they had invited him to be their comic relief and so that they could abuse him:

"Joe Carp said I should show the girls how I mop out the toilet in the factory and he got me a mop. I showed them and everyone laffed [sic] when I told that Mr. Donnegan said I was the best janiter [sic] he ever had because I like my job and do it good and never come late or miss a day except for my operashun [sic]." (Keyes 11)

Later, as Charlie's intelligence increases, he begins to realize how mean these guys have been to him.

"It's a funny thing I never knew that Joe and Frank and the others liked to have me around all the time to make fun of me. Now I know what it means when they say 'to pull a Charlie Gordon.' I'm ashamed." (Keyes 16-17)

It is very hurtful to Charlie when he finds out that these people he thought were his friends are really not.

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Flowers for Algernon

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