In the short story, "Flowers for Algernon," by Daniel Keyes, how do Charlie’s progress reports show that he is becoming more intelligent? 

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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In Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon," the reader watches Charlie's intelligence develop over the time period in which the story takes place. Charlie is asked by his doctor, Dr. Strauss, to write progress reports in the hope that these will show an increase in his intelligence over time. In the beginning, the progress reports are riddled with spelling errors (even the word "progress," is spelled "progris"!), and they appear to be written by a young child. Charlie, it is obvious, sees the world from the perspective of a child. He thinks when people laugh at him, they are laughing with him, and writes about how he "laughs too." As the story continues, changes in the progress reports are subtle at first. The spelling gets better, a maturity in thought seeps in, and by the middle, Charlie is writing like someone who is highly intelligent. He understands who his so-called friends really are, and he is angry at the way they treated him. He becomes so intelligent that he begins to look for a cure for the deterioration that he knows is coming due to what he has seen happen to Algernon. Sadly, Charlie is not able to find that cure before he goes back to being at the same intelligence level he was in the beginning.

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