Flowers for Algernon Quotations and Analysis
Quotations and Analysis
“Prof Nemur said but why did you want to lern to reed and spell in the frist place. I tolld him because all my life I wantid to be smart and not dumb and my mom always tolld me to try and lern just like Miss Kinnian tells me but its very hard to be smart”
3d progris riport
From the beginning, it is clear that the motive behind Charlie’s pursuit of intelligence is to impress and please the people around him. It is clear later on in the novel that his mother constantly punished him for not being smart and his little sister would even pretend he wasn’t her brother.
Charlie is ambitious and tries hard to learn but he is incapable without artificial enhancement. He works relentlessly but the matter is beyond his control.
“I got to try to be smart like other pepul. Then when I am smart they will talk to me and I can sit with them and listen… If your smart you can have lots of fiends to talk to and you never get lonley by yourself all the time.”
Progress Report 7
Charlie has the false assumption that intelligent people are happy and popular. His innocence and naivety is clearly shown here. Charlie is lonely and has a misconception that gaining what he doesn’t have (intelligence) will solve his problems.
It is clear to see that ignorance truly is bliss as Charlie has fewer friends with his newfound intelligence than he did before. Intelligence in a way is alienating.
“She says Im a fine person and I’ll show them all. I asked her why. She said never mind but I shouldnt feel bad if I find out that everybody isnt nice like I think. She said for a person who God gave so little to you did more than a lot of people with brains they never even used. I said that all my friends are smart people and their good. They like me and they never did anything that wasnt nice. Then she got something in her eye and she had to run out to the ladys room.”
Progress Report 9
Alice Kinnian sympathizes with Charlie’s kind and innocent nature but it pains her to hear that he is mistreated by his ‘friends’. Alice has the empirical knowledge of the deceiving and cruel nature of mankind that Charlie does not possess and she warns him that his friends are not what they seem.
Charlie asserts that his friends are smart and good. He gives kindness, love and care unconditionally even to those who don’t deserve it. He is blissfully and innocently naïve.
“Don’t interrupt me!” The real anger in her voice pushed me back. “I mean it. There was something in you before. I don’t know… a warmth, an openness, a kindness that made everyone like you and like to have you around. Now, with all your intelligence and knowledge, there are differences that-“I couldn’t let myself listen. “What did you expect? Did you think I’d remain a docile pup, wagging my tail and licking the foot that kicks me? Sure, all this has changed me and the way I think about myself. I no longer have to take the kind of crap that people have been handing me all my life.”
Progress Report 12
The child-like innocence and kindness that once was Charlie, now is a conceited and coldhearted man. Charlie exhibits the stereotypical attitude of intelligent people as shown by Professor Nemur. Charlie’s intelligence has made him aware of the cruel nature of the people around him and all the mistreatment he received from both his family and his co-workers.
Charlie can be seen to follow the cycle of abuse where the abused becomes the abuser. It is likely that people’s cruel behavior towards Charlie led to his cruel and arrogant behavior with people around him. He has felt inferior for a long time and he feels that now is the time in which he can make someone else feel inferior. He enjoys the sense of superiority that intelligence gives him.
“It may sound like ingratitude, but that is one of the things that I resent here-the attitude that I am a guinea pig. Nemur’s constant references to having made me what I am, or that someday there will be others like me who will become real human beings.”
Progress Report 13
No matter how much Charlie progresses, Nemur will always make him feel inferior due to the fact that he gave him the gift of intelligence. Nemur thinks of Charlie as a mere test subject no different from a lab rat, he is just a means in to gain fame through scientific advancements. In the Professor’s head, Charlie is his creation.