How can the relationship between Charlie and Miss Kinnian be described?

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Daniel Keyes' story "Flowers for Algernon," Charlie and Miss Kinnian start out as student and teacher. Charlie looks at Miss Kinnian as an older woman who is smart and who can teach him how to read and write and help him with other academic pursuits.

As Charlie becomes more intelligent, however, he begins to see Miss Kinnian differently. He realizes she is not very old at all and that they are close in age. He sees that she is attractive and wants more of a personal relationship with her. They begin to date, and he soon finds himself in love with her.

"I knew that this was only the beginning. I knew what she meant about levels because I'd seen some of them already. The thought of leaving her behind made me sad. I'm in love with Miss Kinnian" (Keyes 23).

Charlie's IQ continues to improve to the point that he leaves Miss Kinnian behind intellectually. The teacher becomes the pupil in a way. Charlie begins to see that, not only is he a whole lot smarter than Miss Kinnian, he is even smarter than the doctors who performed the experimental surgery on him. His increased intelligence changes his relationships with everyone.