Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pick your baby? What it would be like to choose his or her eye color, hair color, skin tone, bone structure; basically everything about your child. You can't yet, but advances in genetic engineering are allowing us to come close. This raises the question of whether or not we should be allowed to pick these things for our descendants, and how far should we go with changing nature. In the short story, "Flowers for Algernon" themes of human engineering, ethics and whether it is morally correct to play at being God or not, run rampant. In this story, Charlie Gordon is the subject of a human engineering experiment. I believe that this experiment was good for Charlie's mental health for the most part; it was not good for his emotional or physical health. In this essay, I will show you how it helped Charlie experience new things, and how it expanded his understanding, at the cost of his emotional health.
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This growth in intelligence became very apparent as the progress reports Charlie wrote used more and more complex words and sentences. Then tragedy struck; along with his growth in intelligence, there came an emotional growth. Charlie began to see that people, who were once his friends, had actually been laughing at him, not with him, the whole time. Then, later, a greater disaster came about; Algernon bit Charlie. Algernon, who had also gone through the operation, began exhibiting the signs of the mental degradation that the other test animals had gone through. This scared Charlie, with his now 204 I.Q., and he began studying the effects of the operation. Eventually finding the dreaded results, Charlie found that he too, would "burn-out" and revert to how he originally was. This was sad and became quite apparent, once again, in his progress reports. He appears to become forgetful, clumsy and angry, but he still is grateful to Dr.Nemur and Dr.Strauss. Now onto my essay.
First, I shall begin with how Charlie's understanding grew even after he "burnt-out." To start, near the end of the story, Charlie writes, "If you ever reed this Miss Kinnian dont be sorry for me Im glad I got a second chanse to be smart becaus I lerned a lot of things that I never even new were in this world and Im grateful that I saw it all for a littel bit." This shows, that even if you think it wasn't a good thing, the operation, that Charlie thinks it was. He believes that it as a good thing him getting to experience the world for a little bit, even if he can't now and he is grateful to all of those involved. This is also further proven in that quote, due to Charlie's inferencing about Miss Kinnian possibly feeling bad. Before the operation, Charlie probably would have never made such an inference, yet now he can do so quite easily. Earlier, on page 243, in Charlie's July 27th entry, he talks about Joe and Frank, people who had been "friends" to him at one point, rushingf to his defense, and how he gets choked up at this. Even before that incident, on July 21rst, while Charlie had still retained a good portion of his intelligence, he talked about the boy from the diner, and he did not wish to become that again.