Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Download Flowers for Algernon Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Progress Report 16 Summary

Charlie goes out to the Warren state home. He is initially shocked at the condition of the four thousand residents. They are classified into “tidy” and “untidy,” depending on their level of independence. He contemplates that eventually he will most likely be one of those residents.

Alice and Fay meet at Charlie’s apartment. Alice is intrigued by the carefree nature of the other woman, but she is more concerned about Charlie’s drinking. Eventually, Charlie feels that Fay becomes too possessive. He moves a cot into the lab, and Fay finds another boyfriend.

Charlie works almost around the clock on his investigation of the intellectual regression of Algernon. He knows that his own time is limited, and thus he must find the answer before his own regression commences. He feels that he keeps going down blind alleys, similar to the mazes that tested Algernon, who is now unable to complete them. At a party for the Welberg Foundation, Charlie is confronted by Professor Nemur’s wife. Unable to take her condescension, Charlie tells Nemur that he is tired of being treated as a lab specimen. He was a person even before the operation, and now he must race against time to find the errors in Nemur’s work. He leaves the party and walks home.

Charlie finds the solution to his investigation, only to prove that the intellectual progression is temporary, with the regression equal to the rise in intelligence. As fast as Charlie advanced within a few months, he will fall just as swiftly. He sends off a paper on what he calls the “Algernon-Gordon Effect” to Professor Nemur. He breaks the news to Alice, who cries when she hears....

(The entire section is 439 words.)