Flowers For Algernon: Opinion Paper

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Flowers for Algernon is a story which begs us to think of how lucky we are and appreciate what we have. In it, a mentally challenged man named Charlie, goes under a surgery to make himself smarter. The surgery is a success, however, after a while it breaks and the old Charlie comes back. Throughout his journey Charlie goes through the ups and downs of people a very smart man who’s lonely and a very dumb man who is happy. Despite the many dangers and aftereffects of the operation the pros of it outweigh the cons, making it an overall healthy decision for Charlie.

Charlie’s pre-surgery defining mental illness enables him to work in society, but it keeps him from forming significant relationships with others. Many individuals are mocking him because of his disease, while others are sympathetic, but see no reason to make friends. Charlie becomes conscious of his mental illness ‘ stigma after the surgery, making him furious and bitter about his therapy. In the text it states that ‘The more intelligent you become the more problems you’ll have, Charlie. Your intellectual growth is going to outstrip your emotional growth.’ Showing that the smarter he became the more bitter and emotionless he became regarding his outlook on society.

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The enhanced intellect of Charlie, however, also enables him to become conscious of the things he missed; true love and friendship, and rational comprehension of the globe. Had the operation been permanent, Charlie would have acclimatized to life and individuals slowly and become an ordinary member of society. The one thing he most mourns when his mind starts to revert is the loss of reading and writing; since Charlie records his ideas, his failure to fulfill these duties hurts him more than losing his friends. However, even though his mental state has declined more than before the surgery, Charlie’s mind has extended itself; He is more conscious of his location in the globe than ever before and is therefore better equipped to deal with circumstances and individuals who would benefit from him. Overall, Charlie is better off after the surgery despite the loss of his intellect, though only a little.

Therefore as a conclusion, I believe that the surgery was a good idea as it helped Charlie get a sense of the world around him. It also helped him realize how lucky he was to be happy with what he had, but at the same time regret his mental challenges. We learn towards the end that Charlie is, however, more happy in his mentally challenged state as he has friends, a job, and a life. But does all of this happiness really outweigh the fact that in his emotional and aware state of mind he had more feelings and actually fell in love with someone, despite his lack of job and friends.   


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