Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the external conflict in Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon?

Expert Answers info

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write5,649 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

Any type of struggle, incompatibility, or discrepancy between the main character and something outside of the character's control is considered an "external conflict." Whenever the goals or objectives of the main character come in direct conflict with something the main character cannot fix or change, the conflict becomes "external."

That said, these types of conflicts could occur from anything that does not come from "within:" between the key character and another character, a force of nature, or as a result of a given situation. 

In Flowers for Algernon, there are plenty of external conflicts, but they are all as a result of one central conflict: Charlie versus the social ignorance of special needs. 

The overall ignorance of special needs is what ignites every conflict in the novel. First, we see it in the medical community's...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 427 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

shake99 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write1,473 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial