The protagonist of Daniel Keyes’s novel Flowers for Algernon is Charlie Gordon, a mentally and developmentally challenged young man who agrees to undergo a risky surgical procedure that might increase his intelligence. Over the course of the story, we learn about Charlie’s sad childhood. His parents gave him up because he was disabled. This issue will stay with Charlie throughout his life, as he strives to become even more intelligent than most people in order to show his parents and others that he's capable and eventually win their approval. Before he undergoes the procedure, Charlie writes in his journal, “After the operashun 1m gonna try to be smart. 1m gonna try awful hard.”
When Charlie thinks about his youth and his parents, he paints a picture of a very unhappy family. He writes,
I think of my mother and father a lot these days. I found a picture of them with me taken at a...
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