Abstract illustration of a mouse inside a white human head inside a red human head

Flowers for Algernon

by Daniel Keyes

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Progress Report 2 Summary

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The next day, March 4, Charlie goes to Professor Nemur’s lab for the first of many tests. Charlie begins this progress report by expressing fear that he failed the test and will no longer be considered for the experiment.

Charlie describes the “psych dept” as a long hall that includes a lot of little rooms with only a desk and chairs. In his assigned room, he meets Burt, who is to give him the test. Burt’s white coat makes Charlie think that Burt is a doctor. Charlie admits that he cannot remember Burt’s last name. Because he confesses more than once to his trouble remembering things, Charlie is evidently concerned that his memory issues will also prevent him from being considered for the experiment.

Charlie is apprehensive at the beginning of the test. He says it is the same fear he has experienced at the dentist. Burt tells Charlie to relax and gives him the Rorschach Inkblot Test, an "exam" in which a person is shown several pictures of inkblots and is then asked to describe what images he or she sees there. Charlie’s fear deepens because he thinks this test is similar to the ones he failed in school. Plus, he remembers once spilling ink and being punished for it. Charlie tells Burt that he sees black and white ink on a card. Thinking that the test is over, he gets up to leave, but Burt informs him that he is not through yet. He tells Charlie that people see pictures in the inkblots. Charlie puts on his glasses, thinking that this might help him to see the pictures, but again he sees only ink. Again and again Burt urges Charlie to try to see images, but Charlie does not yet have the imaginative powers to see anything other than inkblots. When Burt tells him to imagine that there is something on the card, Charlie tells him that he imagines an inkblot. In frustration, Burt breaks his pencil point.

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Progress Report 1 Summary


Progress Report 3 Summary