Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Flower For Algernon

I finished a book entitled 'Flowers For Algernon' the other day. It is written by Daniel Keyes. It follows a mentally handicapped individual who gets an operation to become more intelligent.

The book is written in the first person. The author uses "Progress Reports" written by the test subject, Charlie Gordon, to record his progression. Here is a sample from the beginning of the novel:

"Dr. Strauss says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir and avrey thing that happins to me from now on. I dont no why but he says its importint so they will see if they can use me. I hope they use me becaus Miss Kinnian says mabye they can make me smart"

The progression is slow but obvious. The reader sees Charlie and his reports grow more complex and coherent. At the peak of Charlie's intelligence he is working in the same laboratory as his experimenters having surpassed their mental abilities.

"They all think I'm killing myself at this pace, but what they don't understand is that I'm living at a peak of clarity and beauty I never knew existed. Every part of me is attuned to the work. I soak it up into my pores during the day, and at night--in the moments before I pass off into sleep--idease explode into my head like fireworks."

Its an easy 200 page read, approximately 3 - 4 hours worth.


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