What is the conflict in Flowers for Algernon?

The conflict in Flowers for Algernon centers around Charlie's struggle with handling his new intelligence. Once the veil of ignorance is lifted from him, he sees the world as more complicated and less pleasant than he previously had thought.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are many examples of both internal and external conflict in Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon," but I will focus on the struggle between Charlie Gordon and his intelligence, which is the central conflict in the story.

Charlie has special needs and longs to be smarter. The framework for "Flowers for Algernon" is a series of progress reports written by Charlie, who undergoes an experimental surgery to increase his intelligence. Throughout the course of the story, we see a drastic change in his reports. Prior to the surgery, his spelling, grammar, punctuation, and understanding of his surroundings and the world are limited. After the surgery, we see gradual improvements in his spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as well as a heightened sense of awareness and a clearer understanding of the world and the people in it.

Charlie becomes increasingly more intelligent after his operation. Although his goal is realized, this intelligence presents a new set of conflicts, which complicate his...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 1286 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on June 22, 2020
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on June 22, 2020