Why does Charlie go to the Warren State Home in "Flowers for Algernon"?

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In "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes, a 32-year-old man named Charlie Gordon who has an IQ of 68 is chosen to take part in a scientific experiment. He is subjected to a surgical procedure that radically increases his intelligence until he is even smarter than the doctors who performed surgery on him. Once his intelligence reaches genius levels, he conducts his own research—only to find that his intelligence will eventually deteriorate until he reverts back to the intelligence level that he had before.

As Charlie's intelligence continues to degrade, he retains the memory that he was once highly intelligent. He gets his old job back, and his co-workers treat him well and even protect him. When he re-enters Miss Kinnian's classroom, though, it is a devastating experience.

Charlie finally goes to the Warren State Home because he does not want Miss Kinnian and his other friends to feel sorry for him. He thinks it will be easier on his friends if he moves away. At the State Home, nobody knows about the surgery and its aftermath. He figures that he can start again and make new friends.

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In Progress Report 15, Charlie asks Professor Nemur what will happen to him if something goes wrong during the intelligence experiment and discovers that he will be placed in the Warren State Home for the remainder of his life. In Progress Report 16, Charlie visits the Warren State Home to learn about his future before his intelligence completely diminishes. Charlie is curious about what life will be like when he loses his intelligence and becomes completely dependent upon others.

At the Warren State Home, Charlie is distressed by his interaction with a friendly deaf-mute and is taken aback by the nature of the patients, who are severely disabled and require constant care and supervision. Although Charlie is impressed by the facility and staff members, he is disturbed by his bleak, depressing future. Tragically, Charlie loses his intelligence and regresses past his former mental state to the extent that he is taken to the Warren State Home for the remainder of his life.

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In the novel, as his intellect begins to fade (once the effects of his procedure come to an end), Charlie realizes that he will once again be mentally disabled, and he will deteriorate to the point of being unable to care for himself. While this is a heartbreaking realization in and of itself, he is even more disheartened when he visits the Warren State Home.

Charlie goes to see what his life will be like when he has to become a resident of the home. Overall, it is positive because everyone seems friendly and helpful, but the fact that there is no discussion of any hope for progress or improvement of any of the residents crushes Charlie. He realizes that, once he regresses to the state the other patients are in, he will be lost forever. At the end of the novel, he returns to the Warren State home as a patient—coming full circle.

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Charlie visits the Warren state home for the first time toward the end of the novel, out of curiosity. He wants to see what the facility looks like and how the residents are treated. He meets the people who run the facility, sees the other intellectually disabled people who live there and how they occupy their time, and understands the degree to which the residents are free or imprisoned.

Charlie does all this because he's recently found out that his advanced intelligence is expected to deteriorate rapidly, and that the Warren home will be his own home when he becomes unable to take care of himself in the real world. At the facility, Charlie decides that the director and staff members seem like decent people with good intentions, but he's disturbed that there's no talk at all about hope for the residents' improvement. It's a place where people go to spend their lives closed off from society, waiting to die, he concludes.

As the novel comes to a close, Charlie again goes to the Warren home: this time as a resident. He's ready to head there, he explains, because he doesn't want people in the real world feeling sorry for him, and because he wants to be among people like himself.

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