Flowers for Algernon Short Summary
“Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes is a novel and short story. As a short story, it was published in 1959 and as a novel in 1966. It is the story of a 32-year-old man who is challenged mentally. He is set to undergo surgery to raise his intelligence level.
A Quick Overview of the Plot
The story is the process of his surgery from his diary. Charlie does not have many people supporting him except for his great teacher, Alice Kinnian, who wants Charlie to succeed. She is the one who put him up for surgery to begin with. Charlie is busy days before his surgery and works as a Bakery delivery boy. The other workers at this bakery commonly taunt him and make life hard for him. Even worse, Charlie sees these workers as his own best friends.
Charlie started by spelling words wrong when he was young. His family mocked him, and his parents sent him to stay with his uncle when he reached ten years of age. Before the surgery, Charlie’s brain and imagination were working poorly. However, the experiment starts working, and he starts getting smarter. The experiment had been previously conducted on Algernon, a lab mouse.
Charlie starts getting smarter, and this means that he could quit his job at the bakery. However, he comes to realize that his newfound intelligence might not last forever. Since he does not want to lose the intelligence, he starts researching on it himself.
He studies Algernon and even starts getting attached. Charlie is invited for an interview in Chicago, and he gets angry about how the scientists were discussing him before the operation like he was not a person. He loses Algernon in anger.
The scientists start looking for the mouse. Charlie finds him and hides him, then heads home. Charlie observes some aggression from Algernon, and after some time the mouse starts getting worse and dies. Charlie’s intelligence begins fleeting. He loses all of his intelligence and even signs up to a local mental facility.