Charlie's treatment indicates the way scientific "advancements" often take advantage of society's most vulnerable members. The scientists convinced Charlie to take part in the surgery without truly attempting to prepare him for the reality of achieving mental greatness and then losing it all again. While they did mention the possibility to him, they cover their caution with praise, telling Charlie that he has incredible motivation. They talk about Charlie as if he isn't in the room:
Dr Nemur said remember he will be the first human beeng ever to have his intelijence trippled by surgicle meens.
Dr Strauss said exakly. Look at how well hes lerned to read and write for his low mentel age its as grate an acheve H as you and I lerning einstines therey of **vity without help. That shows the intenss motor-vation. Its comparat** a tremen~d' achev~d' I say we use Charlie.
I dint get all the words and they were talking to fast but it sounded like Dr Strauss was on my side and like the other one wasnt.
Unable to comprehend the depth of this argument, Charlie instead sees this as a fight about who is "on [his] side." He is desperately in need of a medical advocate in this situation who could present a more unbiased view, particularly about the dangers of the experiment, in a way that Charlie could understand.
Charlie proceeds with the surgery and becomes an entirely different man. He is well-respected and finds a mutual love. He is able to see the world around him with clarity and is able to examine the motivations of people whom he'd once believed were his friends, such as Joe Carp and Frank Reilly. Yet in the end, he loses everything he had accomplished as his intellectual abilities return to their pre-surgery levels.
When this happens, Charlie begins to withdraw from society. Although he claims to be thankful for having the chance to learn "a lot of things that [he] never even new were in this world" and is "grateful that [he] saw it all for a littel bit," Charlie is also filled with a new sense of loneliness, deciding to leave New York because he doesn't want to face the pity of those who had once seen him at his greatest. It is clear that Charlie lacks a supportive social network, so the question of where he will go and how he will integrate himself into a new society is difficult to envision. In Charlie's final words, his view of himself as a "dumb person" is repeated numerous times, reflecting that he now has a lessened sense of self-efficacy and self-worth.
Following the surgery, Charlie loses his friends, his job, and his belief in himself, and this is replaced with the certainty that as long as he allows people to laugh at him, he will have plenty of "friends." Charlie is more lonely and isolated at the end of the story than he was at the beginning, making a case that he is worse off than he was before.