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Flowers for Algernon - Comparing and Contrasting

Uploaded by omega on May 23, 2001

Many popular novels are often converted into television movies. The brilliant fiction novel, Flowers for Algernon written by Daniel Keyes, was developed into a dramatic television film. Flowers for Algernon is about a mentally retarded man who is given the opportunity to become intelligent through the advancements of medical science. This emotionally touching novel was adapted to television so it could appeal to a wider, more general audience. Although the novel and film are similar in terms of plot and theme, they are different in terms of characters.

The plot of both the novel and film version of Flowers for Algernon share common similarities. They both feature a retarded middle-aged man, Charlie Gordon, who receives an operation to heighten his intelligence. Charlie’s IQ eventually surpasses human normalcy to reveal that the experiment did prove successful. In both the film and novel, Charlie became even more intelligent than the professors who worked with him. In the film, Dr. Strauss was embarrassed to reveal that Charlie was smarter than him. That played a milestone event in Charlie’s identification of himself. Slowly his intelligence began to decrease and he eventually returned to his original state of mind. Throughout the story, Charlie encountered many different emotions that he had never experienced before because he didn’t have the common knowledge to understand them. The episode when he was at the nightclub with his co-workers gave him the opportunity to experience betrayal and anger. “I never knew before that Joe and Frank and the others liked to have me around just to make fun of me” (Keyes 30). The plot for both versions also carefully depicted Charlie’s psychological traumas that he suffered after his operation. These outbursts were often caused by romantic anxiety and the painful memories he would recall. Whenever Charlie got intimate with Alice he would tend to get extremely nervous or have a hallucination, causing him to ruin the moment. “I dropped a fork, and when I tried to retrieve it, I knocked over a glass of water and spilled it on her dress” (56). One of Charlie’s most painful memories was the one about the locket incident. Both versions did a great job of emphasizing this particular moment. “His clothes are torn, his nose is bleeding and one of his teeth is broken” (38). These flashbacks occurred many times in the novel yet the film brought the moment to life and helped to...

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Uploaded by:   omega

Date:   05/23/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,044 words)

Views:   6271

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