Flowers for Algernon Progress Report 10
Charlie restructures the mixing machines to speed up production at the bakery, and Mr. Donner gives him a fifty-dollar bonus and a ten-dollar raise in his wages. Everyone at the bakery is frightened by the unexplained changes in Charlie. Nobody talks to him and he feels lonely. Charlie recalls when, as a young delivery boy, Frank kicked his legs out and caused his head to clunk against the bakery wall. Charlie sees himself in his memories, yet he feels as though he is watching someone else. Remembering more deeply, Charlie recalls when Frank and Gimpy attempted to teach young Charlie how to make rolls. Gimpy promised young Charlie a shiny new good luck piece, a brass STA-BRITE METAL POLISH lid on a chain, if he learned to make rolls correctly. Charlie tried to learn the process, but he panicked when Frank criticized and rushed him. Even though young Charlie failed, Gimpy gave him the good luck piece anyway. Looking back, Charlie is touched by Gimpy's kindness.
Professor Nemur and Dr. Strauss make a deal with Charlie: he can keep his progress reports private as long as he continues to record everything truthfully, and so long as he agrees to hand over the reports to professor Nemur before the doctor's presentation to the Welberg Foundation. Charlie eavesdrops on a heated conversation between Nemur and Strauss. Nemur feels confident about Charlie's progress and wants to present the results of their experiment early at an upcoming convention in Chicago. Urging Professor Nemur to be patient, Dr. Strauss argues that the Nemur's results are premature. The egotistical doctors trade insults and Charlie becomes frightened; he writes, "I was seeing them clearly for the first time - not gods or even heroes, but just two men worried about getting something out of their work." PR 10, pg. 49
Charlie hangs out in the Beekman College cafeteria, soaking up the intellectual conversation and trying to fit in. He also frequents the library, reading anything and everything. Charlie's mother always wished for him to be normal; she dreamed that he would go college someday and prove to everyone that he was smart. In his dreams, Charlie remembers the principal of his old elementary school, P.S. 13, telling Rose Gordon to send young Charlie away to the Warren State Home and Training School. When Charlie wakes, his memories lead him further into his childhood. He sees himself at age six, playing with his shiny spinner while Rose Gordon screamed hysterically that her son was normal. Frightened by his mother's outburst, young Charlie soiled himself and recoiled from his mother's sharp slap. Looking back, Charlie can see his family clearly, and he finds it odd that he has not thought of them in years.