In society, many individuals attempt to change their appearance or personality for the benefit of others or to improve their own self worth. Ultimately, these changes have the ability to boost one’s self esteem. In Daniel Keys’s Flowers For Algernon, Charlie Gordon undergoes surgery to increase his intelligence. Even though his intelligence is not a permanent transformation, it allows him to become more aware about his own life. Charlie’s transformation is ethical and therefore the result is worth the attempt.
As a result of the operations, Charlie gains the experience of what it is like to be intelligent. Therefore, he sees the world as it is. “Only a short time ago, I learned that people laughed at me. Now I can see that unknowingly I joined them in laughing at myself. This hurts most of all” (76.) He can now truly understand how the outside world functions and how he is truly treated.
First, Charlie takes the Rorschach Test, in which he has to identify inked pictures posted on white cards. Imagination plays a big part in the Rorschach Test. This is very difficult for Charlie, since he cannot use his imagination in the way people expect him to, because he sees everything as it is.
Charlie’s mental ability is tested by racing a mouse, Algernon, in all kinds of tests, including the maze. “I hate that mouse. He always beats me” (59.) Charlie isn’t stating that he hates Algernon because he’s jealous, or that he even hates him at all. He doesn’t appreciate the fact that Algernon makes him bad about himself. Charlie in actuality takes in the truth of the situation, in which he is Algernon. Algernon is Charlie. The two are in a way alike, because they both see things as they are. This also creates the irony that Charlie first “hates” Algernon but then sympathizes with him after he gains intelligence. He begins to understand, through his own research that he will also return to his prior state of substandard intelligence. Charlie becomes upset, but he accepts the fact that it will most likely occur since he can relate to the struggles that Algernon has gone through before he passes.
At the party, the factory workers take advantage of Charlie and get him drunk. They also make fun of him, but Charlie is not aware of this. He considers them to be his “best friends” because he doesn’t understand the situations...