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Is Flowers For Algernon Science Fiction?

947 words - 4 pages

Is Flowers for Algernon Science Fiction?
Science fiction is “fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component” (Merriam-Webster). Flowers for Algernon was written by Daniel Keyes. Flowers for Algernon is about a man named Charlie who underwent an experimental operation to attempt to increase his intelligence. Unfortunately, Charlie has to undergo many challenges: the loss of friends, lack of emotional advancement, discovering people are not as nice as they seem, discovery of "The Algernon-Gordon Effect", and the rapid decline of his intelligence. Flowers for Algernon is ...view middle of the document...

By this definition, Flowers for Algernon is a work of science fiction. Flowers for Algernon has the imagined science of the operation. There is not currently, nor was there at the time, an operation, which can help somebody increase their intelligence. In Flowers for Algernon the operation changed him as can be seen in the quote, “‘They performed an operation on me, and that changed me. I’m famous now. They’ve heard of me all over the world. I’m intelligent now, Mom. I can read and write and I can-’” (Keyes 267). The definition of science fiction and this quote show that Flowers for Algernon is in fact science fiction.
The future is full of scientific discoveries, so we automatically associate the future with science fiction, but science fiction does not have to be in the future. Dystopias will often have scientific discoveries with them, so they are science fiction. What about a medical book with medicine that we do not have yet or may never have? If it is set in a future society, such as the one in Matched, it appears to be science fiction. Meanwhile in Flowers for Algernon there is medicine we do not have and may never have, but we do not automatically think of it as science fiction, because it is not based in the future. People will often think of quotes such as “We’d had our tablet containers for a few weeks, and at that point they contained one tablet. The first one. The blue one. The one that can save us; the one with enough nutrients to keep us going for several days if we have water, too.” (Condie 51) from Matched. This is, because it is a medicine we do not have and it is in the future. People do not normally think of quotes such as
“‘We who have worked on this project at Beekman University have the...

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