Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon book cover
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How does Charlie's attitude change after the operation?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After the operation, as he gains intelligence, Charlie's attitudes become much less naive and childlike. When the story opens, he wants nothing more than to please the people in his life, whom he treats as godlike adults.

As his intelligence grows, however, Charlie begins to develop a more a nuanced attitude toward other people. He realizes, for example, the extent to which the workmates he considered his friends made him the butt of cruel jokes. As a result, he begins to feel ashamed of his former self. Further, he no longer treats Miss Kinnian as a six-year-old might his adored elementary...

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mkcapen1 | Student

In the book Flowers for Algernon a man named Charlie is told by his teacher, Alice, that he can be a part of an experiment that may help to increase his intelligence.  Charlie is scared but agrees to the experiment.  He likes the two scientists that want to do the experiment and believes that they see him as a person.

Charlie is also employed in a factory where the workers play jokes on him because of his disability.  As Charlie becomes more intelligent he begins to understand that to one of the scientists he is no more than a test subject like the mouse, Algernon.  He also recognizes that having superior intelligence changes things.

The people in the factory are no longer comfortable having Charlie around them, because they know he is now smarter than them.  Charlie begins to feel alone and isolated from the others. 

Charlie also begins to have romantic feelings for his teacher.  Charlie becomes more cynical about the people in his life as his intelligence open his eyes to the truth behind the jokes that had been played on him and the scientist's insecurity with his intelligence.

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