Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 508
It is May 1, and Charlie asks Miss Kinnian (Alice) out for dinner and a movie. He is obsessed with her closeness, the times when they accidentally touch. He is unsure of himself and how he is supposed to react. He is bothered by the unreality of the movie, that all its conflicts were wrapped up nicely but artificially. He is at the point of being angry, but Miss Kinnian calms him down, pointing out that he is rapidly becoming more analytical. At the end of the evening, Charlie is not sure how he is supposed to act. His awkwardness reveals that he is still emotionally immature despite his now genius-level IQ. They agree that it was probably not a good idea for them to have gone out, and Miss Kinnian prevents Charlie from moving too far physically.
Charlie’s dreams give him material for introspection, especially in regard to women. He remembers seeing his sister naked in the bathroom, confused by their physical differences. Her menstrual blood confused him even more, thinking that she was hurt and terrified that he would be blamed.
At the bakery, he notices that Gimpy is undercharging customers and splitting the difference with them. Knowing this is dishonest, he is unsure what he should do. If he does nothing, he will be complicit in the stealing. If he says something, Gimpy will be fired and it is unlikely that he will easily get another job due to his club foot. He asks Professor Nemur for advice. The scientist tells him it is none of his business and that he should ignore it. Dr. Strauss says that he has a moral obligation to report it. Wanting Alice Kinnian to break the tie, he asks her advice. She tells him that he must decide for himself. He is surprised to realize that he can trust himself. He approaches Gimpy, telling him the situation as if it happened to a friend of his, though Gimpy is aware of what Charlie is saying. Charlie warns him that if he does not stop stealing, he will report it to Mr. Donner. If he stops, then he will say nothing.
Charlie and Alice go to an outdoor concert. When the two get physically close, Charlie hallucinates that he sees himself as a teenage boy exposing himself. He remembers his mother beating him for getting an erection. Charlie is bothered by the hallucination, which prevents him from kissing Alice good night as he had planned.
Charlie is fired from his job at the bakery. His coworkers once made fun of him for being “dumber” than they were, but now that he has clearly surpassed them intellectually, they are afraid of him. Mr. Donner, despite his promise to Charlie’s Uncle Herman, lets him go. Charlie is upset because the bakery is the only home he has known for a long time. He talks about this with Alice, noticing the conflicting decorations in her home. That night, his dreams center on that dichotomy and his conflicting emotions concerning women’s sexuality.
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