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Flowres for Algernon - Describe the nature of this turning point and analyse how the writer develops the character concerned.

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Flowers for Algernon Essay Question 2: Choose a short story in which a character faces a turning point in their life. Describe the nature of this turning point and analyse how the writer develops the character concerned. You should consider such techniques as characterisation, setting, dialogue and any other you feel relevant to communicating the theme of the story. A short story where a character faces a turning point in their life is "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keys. The character in question being Charlie Gordon. Charlie himself is the main character in the story which is told entirely though his progress reports. At the start of the story Charlie is thirty-seven, lives alone and works as a lowly cleaner in a factory. Charlie is often the butt of jokes and often made fun of by some of the other workers in the factory. He is happy in a way with all these people that he considers to be smart, and enjoys laughing with them event though most of the time they are laughing at him. ...read more.


He wants desperately to hold on to some remnants of his genius especially the ability to read and write "please let me keep some of it." In the end he can no longer live with the people who knew him when he was smart so he decides to move to New York and start again somewhere else away from everyone he ever knew. The way that the story is written I feel has significant meaning in the development of Charlie up to and after his turning point. The entire story is written in the form of Charlie's progress reports in the first person narrative. From the beginning of the story it is clear by Charlie's poor spelling that he is of below average intelligence, but as the story progress he moves on from his terrible spelling, as it begins to improve after the operation and he begins to get smarter he begins to use more and more complex words and punctuation. Unfortunately this was not to last, as the effects of the operation begin to wear off his spelling returns gradually to the simple state it was at the start of the story. ...read more.


The "ignorance is bliss" thing that I mentioned before could be used to look into how Charlie begins to look at other retarded people; "his kind" after he is smart. At first Charlie is treated badly and made fun of by his peers at work but doesn't realise it, he believes that these people are his friends and enjoy his company, however after the operation he begins realise what has been going on and starts to understand what peoples opinions are of him. Later in the story when Charlie is a genius, he is eating dinner in a café when someone drops some plates, another person in the café makes fun of the boy for it and everyone in the café laughs including Charlie, but soon Charlie realises that the boy is retarded and they are laughing at him because of that, he then gets furious the customers and staff, but more importantly himself, he says; "I felt ashamed for both of us," this quote and this part of the story shows just how much Charlie has changed from the simple person he was at the beginning. ...read more.

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