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Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

#138: June - Aug. 2015 (Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

Please discuss Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9 here.
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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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I like how the author offers clues that Charlie Gordon is improving, but shows his frustration at a perceived lack of progress. He does this partly in reference to the mouse. Early in the book Charlie marvels at how smart the mouse is. As he starts to improve he hates the mouse, "He always beets me." p.18 Then he states "I never new before that I was dumber than a mouse." p. 20 Charlie learns Algernon is a "speshul mouse. That makes it diffrint. I coud probaly do that amazed faster then a reglar mouse." p. 21 And finally on "March 29 - I beet Algernon." p. 31

Charlie talks about his friends at work quite a bit, but another hint of progress is he unintentionally drops clues that his "friends" are actually ridiculing him. I expect Charlie will soon recognize that fully. Sad.
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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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Yeah, a lot of people in Charlie's life are real assholes!
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Robert Tulip

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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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In Chapter 7 the operation is over, and Charlie has a bandaged head for a few days. His nurse is not impressed. She raises the moral problem of the story of Adam and Eve as evidence for why God does not want doctors to play God by manipulating people’s brains. She gets moved to another ward for talking too much.

Charlie wonders why it takes time to get smart, but he can already ask questions about how to spell.
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Robert Tulip

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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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This theme of "don't play God" gets applied hypocritically.

Why is it okay to do open heart surgery but a hypothetical operation making people smarter is "playing God"?

Why is it okay to build wind turbines for renewable energy but adding iron to the sea to protect salmon is "playing God"?

Often these type of debates have a hidden agenda.
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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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I just came back to the forum after having read the book, so I'll attempt not to spoil anything.

Charlie's frustration at how slow his perceived progress is moving shows a new level of intelligence in and of itself I feel. In grade school, teachers note this as a checkpoint in a student's progress, where they are at the very least concerned about how they are doing (I have several family members in the education field who've described this). The change in grammar is immediately seen, as well as the picking up of larger and larger words.

The people at the bakery were terrible to him, but that's just the tip of the iceberg compared to what others do and have done to Charlie later on (I won't spoil anything for you yet). It's hard to believe it, but my dad says that at the time that this book was published, the treatment of the mentally impaired was abysmal at best. This book is pretty tame compared to some of the stories my dad told me from his growing up.
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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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Movie Nerd wrote: Charlie's frustration at how slow his perceived progress is moving shows a new level of intelligence in and of itself I feel. In grade school, teachers note this as a checkpoint in a student's progress, where they are at the very least concerned about how they are doing (I have several family members in the education field who've described this). The change in grammar is immediately seen, as well as the picking up of larger and larger words.
This is a key point about how Keyes constructs the book, carefully and gradually introducing a higher level of intelligence in how Charlie writes. The question he asks about how Progress is spelt is a good example, as this simply did not occur to him in his moronic state.
Movie Nerd wrote: The people at the bakery were terrible to him, but that's just the tip of the iceberg compared to what others do and have done to Charlie later on (I won't spoil anything for you yet). It's hard to believe it, but my dad says that at the time that this book was published, the treatment of the mentally impaired was abysmal at best. This book is pretty tame compared to some of the stories my dad told me from his growing up.
Yes, that is true that treatment of people with disabilities was actually far worse than this book illustrates. Asylums were an ‘out of sight out of mind’ way to deal with people who could not function independently in the days before modern medical treatment.

It is hard for us to imagine a culture such as Nazi Germany, within living memory, when eugenic theory led to mass extermination of people who were different, including the disabled. The repugnance today towards the Nazi actions masks how similar attitudes used to be more widespread.
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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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The book was brilliant for highlighting this issue.
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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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:lol: Je Suis Charlie :-D (and Je Suis the guys at the bakery too)

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Jesu is Charlie
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Re: Flowers for Algernon: PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11 and PROGRESS REPORT 8 and 9

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Algernon Chapter 8

Charlie is irritated that he is not getting smart. He still spells fonetikly, but this chapter begins to weave in examples of improvement. He starts to question authority, he requests more complex work at the bakery, he starts to remember his dreams, he learns to use a dictionary, and he beats Algernon the mouse in a maze race, but he still displays a moronic literalism. Interestingly, he learns about the distinction between conscious and subconscious thought, which is a highly complex psychological concept.

The relationship with the bakery is interesting. The owner had promised him a job for life, and is compassionate. Charlie regards the others as friends, but they tease him without mercy. They get him drunk and get him to dance on a table with a lampshade on his head, and then ask him to go around the corner to see if it is raining before running out on him.
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