What is the setting of "Flowers for Algernon"?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main setting of the book is the laboratory and bakery in New York City sometime after the 1950’s.

The story takes place in New York City.  The first “progris riport” is written on March 9 and the last one is written on November 21.  Most of the action seems to have taken place in the laboratory, or Donners Bakery where Charlie works.

Im glad Im going back to werk because I miss my job at the bakery and all my frends and all the fun we have. (March 20)

As Charlie grows in intelligence, he explores the city at a deeper level.  At one point, he steals Algernon and takes off into the concrete jungle.  The bustle of the city makes him feel even more scared and depressed and alone.

The setting is significant because at this time period, in the 1950's and 60's, there was a lot of experimentation with the brain and mental illness.  The book is an exploration of technology that did not exist, and still does not exist.  Charlie's operation may make him smarter, but it does not instantly make his life any easier or make him feel more important or successful.