Charlie Gordon



Aflower of Algernon (1958) is a short science fiction story written byDaniel Keyes. Algernon is a laboratory mouse whose intelligence wasartificially increased by two researchers Dr. Strauss and prof.Nemur. The success of the mouse led to , who wassuffering from Phenylketonuria- a mental disability, being the nextsubject of the surgery. The surgery became a success, and his IQbecame greater. However, at the same time his behavior led todetachment from others. He eventually noticed that the mouse losesits IQ and dies as he did a progressive study on the mouse. The badnews resulted in the reconstruction of the broken relationship withhis family and workmates. The short story reveals the moral andethical themes such as treatment of mentally disturbed.

Charliewould not have gone through with the surgery. After the surgery, hemight have become smart but, unfortunately, he had lost all hisfriends. The loss resulted to him being lonely evidently through hisstatement that people no longer talked to him or delight with him inthe manner in which it was previously making his work friendless.People become repulsive mostly because of how we treat them.Charlie’s IQ cost him his friends as they become resentful andscared of his increased intelligence. Not only did he lose hisfriends but also his job at Mr. Donnegan’s Plastic Box Company.This is proved by his claim that all the 840 names were linked to thecompany, apart from that of Fanny Girden since it was missing,insisted that he be fired. Unity in addition to respect are thevirtue in the workplace but Charlie being unable to practice any ofit was resented resulting to the workmates voting for his firing.Also, Charlie started suffering from his loss of intelligence and waseven having thoughts of suicide, evidently in his words: “I feelthe darkness closing in. It’s hard to throw off thoughts ofsuicide”. Gordon’s thought is normal since he had no one whowould counsel him as he had created enemies of the people who wouldhave helped and as it turned out his intelligence started to becomehis only suicidal counsel.

Inconclusion, Charlie should not have had the surgery right away butwait until the progressive tests on the mouse is complete, and alsohis inability to control his intelligence should have been consideredbefore the surgery. Ultimately the surgery should not have gonethrough.


Keyes,D., &amp Clark, J. (1970). Flowersfor Algernon.Bantam Books.