Flowers For Algernon Essays

Flowers For Algernon Essays-20
Would the world have lost their genius if such surgeries and medications had been available during their lifetimes?

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How does the diary or journal-entry form of the novel affect the emphasis of the narrative?

Is Charlie dependable as a narrator as he progresses through his various stages?

Again, people with certain types of epilepsy responded positively to the removal of small, precisely measured amounts of brain tissue.

Their seizures were minimized or eliminated altogether with few or none of the tragic effects of the early frontal lobotomies.

Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon was ahead of its time in holding these issues up to scrutiny.

No doubt the scientists responsible for Charlie’s surgery have good intentions.Besides becoming smarter, how does Charlie's intellect change as the experiment unfolds?As the experiment unfolds, Charlie's intellect blossoms in several ways The first change involves a more developed ego Prior to the operation, Charlie loses a maze race with Algernon but is not overly concerned that the mouse has beaten him In essence, he doesn't have a strong self-image The next time Charlie races Algernon, following the operation, he becomes angry that the mouse has beaten him Here we see that a sense of self-image has developed It is, of course, further developed as Charlie's intelligence increases to the point where he can easily beat the mouse With Algernon's defeat, Charlie takes a certain pride in himself As his intellect is further magnified, Charlie develops a heightened sense of self-importance; he sees himself as playing an important role in the lives of others, and at one point he even fantasizes that he might be able to help all mentally challenged individuals by coming up with a solution to the experiment's flaw Another significant change involves Charlie's imagination Prior to the operation Charlie seems to exists mainly in the physical world Like an animal, he reacts to the various stimuli confronting him, in an almost reflexive manner He does not appear to fantasize or to have much of an imagination This is why he initially has so much trouble with the Rorschach inkblot test Following the operation, the creative side of his mind flourishes His dreams become more vivid and more complex, and he actively fantasizes He also demonstrates creativity, gaining an appreciation of art and by taking up the piano and creating music A third changes involves Charlie's sexuality Prior to the operation Charlie exhibits no awareness of his own sexuality This, however, changes following the operation The first indication that Charlie is developing sexual feelings occurs when his co-workers from the bakery take him to a bar and force him to dance with a woman The activity stirs some odd and unfamiliar feelings within him Not long after his dance, Charlie has a "wet dream" involving the woman The next step in his sexual development is seen in his crush on his teacher, Alice Kinnian Charlie's relationship with Fay, the painter across the hall, constitutes a much more complex, adult type of sexual relationship Finally, when Charlie eventually reconnects with Alice, we sense that he has developed the full capacity for love 5. Why might the author have chosen this span of time?Is Charlie capable of providing insight into the other characters, or is he too preoccupied with himself?The surgery that Charlie undergoes in Flowers for Algernon is purely fictional, although surgical techniques in the treatment of the mentally ill were being used at the time that the novel’s action takes place.For example, ethicists question what traits are part of an individual’s core personality that should not be tampered with?Who determines what behaviors are “normal” or abnormal?Electroencephalography, a technique for recording the electrical activity of the brain, enabled researchers to pinpoint trouble spots characterized by too much or too little brain activity.More precise surgical techniques developed in the 1980s resurrected the debate over excising portions of the brain to control behavior and mental performance.Hilda, Charlie's first nurse after his operation, suggests that perhaps the operation shouldn't have been performed because if God had intended for Charlie to be smart, he would have made him that way in the first place Thus, the novel raises the notion of God as the sole creator However, Dr.Strauss and Professor Nemur's experiment has, in essence, re-created God's work Through Hilda we are prompted to ask whether it is an act of hubris to alter what God has created And even if man can redo God's work, should he?


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