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A Theme of Motivation in Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes suggests when putting with the motivation you will have to strive in order to complete the goal. During the book, Charlie was faced with 3 main stages of life to make it to his end goal which is becoming smart so people will like him, at first when Charlie was first told about the experiment when he made it to his end goal but it wasn’t how he thought it would be like and when he started losing his intelligence. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys show when Charlie was chosen an experiment his motivations are to become smart and as a result of that, he strives and excelled the scientist’s expectations.

At the beginning of the book, Charlie had a deep motivation to become smart and is willing to do anything in order to achieve that goal, this is very evident in three main quotes that show his enthusiasm for the experiment. The first quote, “Miss Kinnian says maybe they can make me smart. I want to be smart.” said Charlie shows his enthusiasm and open-mindedness to the experiment which gives him the push he needs to in order to become smart. The second quote that shows his motivation to be smart is when Charlie “I just want to be smart like other pepul so I can have lots of frends”, this quote shows his high desire and motivation to have friends and to be liked. Finally, the last quote of Charlie, when he was in his “retarded” state, was a phrase many of his co-workers use to explain what it means to do something dumb, this quote that his peers used is “He really pulled a Charlie Gordon that time.” this phrase means that don’t mess up on something simple, but when he was at this stage he was carefree and never wanted to live up to somebody’s expectations, he was just happy and loving life. To conclude, if you have lower intelligence, then you are more knowledgeable about the real world which can lead to being more happy or sad.

When Charlie started getting more intelligent he realized the truth about his peers and how smart the doctors really are. As he started getting more intelligent he always thought of the scientists as a high standing person who knows everything that can be taught like Charlie knew but he soon realized that his image of them was wrong, this is very evident when Charlie said “As shocking as it is to discover the truth about men I had respected and looked up to” this shows the beginning of a train of disappointment which starts off his series of anger. After the experiment went public, Professor Nemur treated him more like an object than like a human being so Charlie finally fights back and says, “I was a person before the operation. In case you forgot.” this represents that Charlie is now knowledgeable of the mockery that people are doing to him because before he never knew any better. Finally, after Charlie got drunk in fays apartment, he learned that the scientists never actually got rid of the old Charlie but just pushed him to the side and when Charlie got drunk old Charlie would come back out, “In spite of the operation Charlie was still with me” said Charlie. To conclude, as Charlie was getting smarter, he would have more anger attacks which are a result of the frustration he is experiencing from having many heartbreaking realizations at once.

Once Charlie started losing his intelligence, he didn’t weep about it but he used that as a motivation to finish his report so the scientists can learn from it and do better. When he learned that his intelligence is going down he realized that time was short to make a difference so he pushed his work to finish his report, “My own mental deterioration will be quite rapid.” said Charlie when he learned that his intelligence is going down faster than he had thought. After some time for Charlie to digest the news of him not having his intelligence anymore, he realized that he is going to much happier having a lower IQ “Intelligence … that hasn’t been tempered by human affection isn’t worth a damn.” said Charlie when he thinking about how things will be different, how he will lose everything and making any desperate attempt to keep at least a fraction of the intelligence. After Charlie forgot everything, his intelligence, the love of his life, his new relationship with his sister, he remembered one thing, which is the mouse that had started everything, the mouse Algernon, “Please … put some flowrs on Algernon’s grave in the bak yard” this was Charlie’s last words in the final progress report and it showed that all the fake happiness he had from these other things he forgot when he became happy again but he remembered Algernon. To conclude, as Charlie was losing intelligence, he would be more at peace the more it would lose.

When Charlie’s motivation was achieved, he had a realization which was not everything you want is what you need, meaning that when you have a goal or you want something it doesn’t always mean that you need it or it is a necessity to have that, this is a prime example of Charlie thinking he needs to be smart in order to make friends or to have a good life.

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A Theme Of Motivation In Flowers For Algernon By Daniel Keyes. (2020, September 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 16, 2021, from
“A Theme Of Motivation In Flowers For Algernon By Daniel Keyes.” GradesFixer, 01 Sept. 2020,
A Theme Of Motivation In Flowers For Algernon By Daniel Keyes. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 Oct. 2021].
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