FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON BY: DANIEL KEYES MAJOR CHARACTERS Mr. Donner Charlie’s guardian and employer at the bakery Burt Selden Administered inkblot and other tests to Charlie Fay Lillian Charlie’s neighbor and friend who is full of life and excitement Algernon A mouse with increased intelligence PROGRESS REPORTS 1-8 Charlie Gordon wants Dr. Strauss and Prof. Nemur to choose him for an experiment to increase his intelligence by brain surgery Charlie must record everything he thinks and remembers in these journal entries called Progress reports Charlie reports that he is 32 years old, that he works for $11 a week at Donner's Bakery, and that he wants more than anything "to be smart." PROGRESS REPORTS 1-8 Charlie has to take a Rorschach (ink blot), and other tests, so the Doctors can determine if they will use him in the experiment . Charlie also takes a Thematic Apperception Test in which he has to make up stories based on pictures Charlie can’t complete this test either because he doesn’t want to tell lies about people. Burt introduces Charlie to Algernon, a white laboratory mouse who beats Charlie ten times at solving a maze. PROGRESS REPORTS 1-8 Dr. Strauss and Prof. Nemur decide to use Charlie in the Surgery because Miss Kinnian, his teacher, said he wants to learn to read and write more than many other people. Charlie says he wants to smart so he will have more friends. After the surgery, Charlie… …feels discouraged because he does not feel any smarter. …starts dreaming and remembering things …finally beats Algernon at the maze …starts spelling better Progress Reports 9-10 At work at the bakery, Frank and Joe tell Charlie to try working the complicated dough mixer as a joke. To their surprise, Charlie does a great job with the dough mixer Then, the gang from Donner's bakery invites Charlie to a party. For the first time, Charlie figures out that his socalled friends are laughing at him. As Charlie gets smarter, his friends at the bakery like him less. Charlie starts remembering his past through dreams that are like very clear pictures. Charlie decides to talk to Dr. Strauss about his memories in therapy. Dr. Strauss tells Charlie that even though his IQ is about 100 now, his emotional growth has not caught up. Progress Reports 9-10 In Charlie’s next dream, about his school P.S. 13, Charlie remembered his parents’ names. Then, back at the lab, Burt administers the Rorschach Test again. Charlie understands the test better, so he accuses Burt of giving him different instructions. Charlie overhears Prof. Nemur and Dr. Strauss arguing. He realizes that it is not right to eavesdrop since he is smart enough to understand what they are arguing about now. Charlie wants to make friends with the boys at the college, but he is afraid he won’t be able to talk about issues like God, because he’s never thought about it before. Progress Report 11 As Charlie became smarter, he realized that he was in love with Alice, but was confused about it. he was a person before the surgery, even though he wasn’t smart. he wasn’t sure if his dreams were real memories. Gimpy was stealing from Mr. Donner at the bakery. many professors/specialists were not as smart as he thought they were. Progress Report 11 Charlie went on a date to a concert with Alice Kinnian. During the date, Charlie started to panic and realized he was still emotionally an adolescent. Burt told him that that was normal because he had never been on a date before. Later, when Charlie was talking to Alice, he had a memory about his mother screaming at him for looking at a woman. Progress Reports 12-13 Charlie’s IQ increased to 185 Prof. Nemur still did not treat him as an equal Charlie’s memory was developing rapidly Alice told Charlie that his attitude was changing, he was becoming arrogant, and that she felt inferior to him. Charlie was having more memories about his family He remembered that his sister Norma wanted a dog, but their dad refused, and then Norma wouldn’t talk to Charlie anymore. He remembered how his mom beat him many times for looking at girls. Charlie was scared because when he met a woman in Central Park, he wanted the men chasing him to beat him for talking to the woman. Progress Reports 12-13 Charlie went to a conference where Dr.Strauss and Prof. Nemur were going to present their experiment. On the plane, when Charlie fastened his seat belt, he had a memory of being strapped down for treatments by Dr. Guarino as a kid. Even though it scared him, he remembered that Dr. Guarino always treated him like a human being. Charlie resented that Prof. Nemur never treated him like a human being At the conference, he was angry and released Algernon from his cage before running away with him to New York. Progress Report 14 When Charlie got back to New York… He read a newspaper article about himself and found out his sister Norma’s address in Brooklyn. He had a memory of how his mother treated him differently after she found out Norma was normal. He rented a furnished apartment for himself and Algernon. He met his neighbor, Fay Lillian, who he thought was attractive and full of life and excitement. He went to see his father but did not reveal himself. Progress Report 14 Charlie spent a lot of time with Fay, and on their first night together, when Charlie was drunk, he told Fay he couldn’t play with her because his mother would take away his peanuts. Charlie spent the next few weeks dancing and drinking with Fay Algernon was deteriorating. He was confused, bit Fay, and kept trying to run the maze even though he was having trouble Charlie found out that his former self was still inside him Fay brought Algernon a female mouse named Minnie. Charlie finally called Alice and told her that his emotional state of adolescence was coming b/w them. Progress Reports 15-16 Charlie gets a grant from the foundation to do his own research without consulting Prof. Nemur, who was upset, but still offered him the lab’s resources Burt told Charlie that if he regressed, he would be sent to the Warren State Home Algernon continued to regress, stopped running the maze, wouldn’t eat, and eventually died. Charlie wanted to go visit Warren to see what it was like. Charlie buries Algernon and put flowers on his grave. Alice visits Charlie at his new apartment and meets Fay. Alice likes Fay, but admits that she thought she wouldn’t. Progress Reports 15-16 After Alice visits Charlie, he decides to put all his efforts into his research and starts sleeping at the Lab. Charlie comes up the theory called, “The AlgernonGordon Effect”. Charlie attends Prof. Nemur’s cocktail party At the party, Charlie gets drunk and is rude to the guests. Charlie sees his “other self” in the bathroom mirror when he is drunk. Progress Reports 15-16 Charlie visits his mother and sister He finds out his mother is senile. She goes back and forth between screaming the child Charlie, and talking to the adult Charlie. Norma is happy to see Charlie. Charlie asks Norma about different memories from their childhood. Norma does not remember those memories. Progress Report 17 During a therapy session with Dr. Strauss, Charlie has an out-of-body experience in which he feels lightheaded and envisions himself in a cave. Charlie continues to deteriorate He refuses to do any more mazes and tests because he is frustrated that he can’t do them. Alice stays with Charlie and helps him while he regresses. Progress Report 17 Charlie told Mr. Donner about the failed operation and got his job back at the bakery He also went back to Alice’s reading class at the adult center. Charlie decided to admit himself to the Warren School do no one would feel sorry for him. In his last progress report, written seven months from the first one, he asked that someone put flowers on Algernon’s grave.