In Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, what happens to Algernon and how does it effect Charlie?

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Sadly, Charlie discovers that the amazing increase in Algernon's intelligence, and thus in his own, is only temporary.  Shortly after, Algernon dies, and knowing that his own intellectual demise is forthcoming, Charlie begins to tie up loose ends.  He visits his mother, who barely remembers him, makes peace with his sister, finally ending what had many years ago been an antagonistic relationship, and spends time with his ever-faithful friend and former teacher, Alice Kinnian.  Charlie indicates at the end that he is going away, although it is not clear if that means he is leaving New York, or planning a suicide.  This ending, while ambiguous, is completely consistent with the theme Keyes has woven throughout the work of a man's alienation from society. 

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