How is ignorance a disease in Flowers for Algernon?How is ignorance a disease in Flowers for Algernon? Please provide evidents as well as your own insights and elaboration.

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besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would consider ignorance a disease in Flowers for Algernon because ignorance is seen as something that needs to be fixed. Instead of being content with the intelligence level that Charlie had, it is decided to perform the experiments on him to attempt to try to make him more intelligent. As Charlie becomes smarter, he is able to seen things more clearly. He is also more aware of the way that people who are below normal intelligence levels are treated. An example was when he heard people of normal intelligence making fun of the "slow" people. It seemed that Charlie was more content before he became intelligent.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One could claim that ignorance is always a disease, but the reason that it is much more easily seen as a disease in Flowers for Algernon is that it is dynamic and obvious in Charlie's character.

He begins at a certain level of intelligence, but then as he grows due to the experiments, he begins to see all the things that he was missing before.  The contrast is obvious and strong given that he was so ignorant previously.  Then as he peaks and descends again into ignorance, that change can be viewed as a disease because it debilitates just as serious diseases do.