What argument does Fanny Birden make about the moral implications of the operation in Flowers for Algernon?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Using the Bible as evidence for her opinion, Fanny Birden argues that

"...it's not meant for man to know more than was given to him to know by the Lord in the first place. The fruit of that tree was forbidden to man."

She likens Charlie's quest for greater intelligence to the situation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had been forbidden by God to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but, succumbing to the temptation of Satan, Eve did so anyway, then convinced Adam to join her in her sin. Fanny says,

"It was evil when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge. It was evil when they saw they was naked, and learned about lust and shame. And they was driven out of Paradise and the gates was closed to them" (Progress Report 11, May 20).

Fanny believes that nothing good will come from tampering with nature. Although she does not join in the movement to have Charlie fired from his job, she is disturbed by the change she sees in him, and senses that "it ain't right." She tells Charlie that "there's something mighty strange" about what is happening to him as a result of the operation. She is not clear as to what he has done to himself, but feels that it is unnatural, and wrong.

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