Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 354
It is March 8, and Charlie is prepared for the operation. Numerous visitors come to wish him luck. Burt Seldon brings him flowers from the people at the psych department (flowers will also play a role at the end of the story, functioning as bookends to Charlie’s new life). Charlie has his rabbit’s foot and his lucky penny to take with him into the operating room. Dr. Strauss chides him for being superstitious: the operation does not involve luck, the doctor says; it is "science." Charlie is confused because he believes that "science" is simply something that helps you have good luck. Joe Carp, a coworker from Donner’s Bakery, brings him a chocolate cake and tells him to get better soon. On Professor Nemur’s orders, Charlie has told his colleagues that he is sick. The true purpose of the procedure is top secret at the moment, in case the experiment does not produce the hoped-for results. Miss Kinnian also visits and straightens his room. Charlie thinks that his teacher likes him because he tries harder than all the other students at the school.
Professor Nemur ends the visitation hours, insisting that Charlie needs rest. Charlie asks if he will be able to beat Algernon in the maze following his operation. Charlie’s motivation at this point is to show himself smarter than a mouse. He looks forward to being able to read and write better. He hopes to be able to find his parents and sister. He imagines how surprised they will be when he shows up at their door, as smart as a “normal” person.
Professor Nemur tells Charlie that if the surgery proves successful, it will revolutionize humanity’s intellectual capabilities. More people will receive the same surgery all over the world. Charlie is doing something great for humanity, and he is sure to become famous. Charlie does not care so much about being famous as he does about being smart. At the moment, however, he is concerned about not being able to eat before his operation. Professor Nemur, whom Charlie calls a “grouch," takes away his chocolate cake.