Flowers for Algernon By Daniel Keyes Summary and Analysis PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11

Summary

The operation is complete, and Charlie is recovering in the hospital. Bandages cover Charlie's eyes for three days. When the bandages are removed, he continues his progress reports. A nurse in the hospital introduces the theme of Man Playing God, but it is too abstract for Charlie to understand. He is disappointed that he is not instantly smart, but Miss Kinnian tells him that it will take time for his intelligence to increase.

Analysis

One of Charlie's tragic misperceptions about his surgery appears in this progress report. He writes, "If your smart you can have lots of friends to talk to and you never get lonley by yourself all the time." This sentiment foreshadows many of the hard lessons that Charlie will learn.

The theme of Man Playing God is introduced at this time as well. Charlie's first nurse, Hilda, tells Charlie that if God had wanted Charlie to be smart, he would have been born that way. Her reference to Adam and Eve and the "sin with the tree of nowl-ege" foreshadows the difficulties that the intelligent Charlie and other "knowledgeable people" often have in retaining their humility and compassion.

The role of knowledge in God's universe is another theme that runs through this book. Charlie's reaction to Hilda's remark is true to form as he is immediately frightened that perhaps this surgery was a mistake. His desire to please those around him includes God; he does not want to make God angry. Hilda's remark illustrates a conflict that many people find between science and religion.

Although Charlie is 32 years old, those around him still treat him as a child. He is unaware of this association and interprets many actions as signs of friendship. Dr. Strauss pats Charlie on the head before the surgery, and Miss Kinnian pats his hands after the surgery. These relationships will change as Charlie evolves into the man created by his increased intelligence, enabling him to recognize the patronizing elements of these interactions.

Glossary

Photostat (Fotostat) a copy.

all the tea in China a hyperbole meant to exaggerate an extreme amount.

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After his surgery, Charlie uses what word for the first time in his life?




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