How did having little intelligence affect Charlie's feelings, emotions, and perception?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the novel, Flowers for Algernon, the central character Charlie has little intelligence, but it does affect his feelings, emotions and perceptions.  For example, his feelings are not really affected by the other men teasing him about his low ability because his perception is that they are being friendly and not mean.  His emotions are near the surface and he expresses his joy at doing well on a test or in working with Miss Kinnian, the teacher.  His perception of the people in his life is mostly inaccurate as he does not understand that people are making fun of him, especially his co-workers.  His perception of his schooling is that he will make it even though it is obvious from his writing that he will never have the ability to pass his class.  Yet, he keeps working and keeps his sense of self.  Charlie is meant to show us how we often treat those of low intelligence even though it is not their fault.  Charlie's reactions to those who tease him reinforces for us that he doesn't deserve nor does he understand the meanness with which he is treated by those around him.

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