Book Notes Progress Report 12 Notes from Flowers for Algernon

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Flowers for Algernon Progress Report 12

It is early June and the International Psychological Convention in Chicago is only one week away. Professor Nemur arrogantly treats Charlie as a mere scientific exhibit of his own creation. Charlie notes, "Our relationship is becoming increasingly strained. I resent Nemur's constant references to me as a laboratory specimen. He makes me feel that before the experiment I was not really a human being." PR 12, pg. 79

Charlie vividly recalls the day his sister Norma turned against him completely. The Gordons had promised Norma a dog if she brought home good grades from school. Norma received an "A" on her history test, but Charlie spoiled Norma's good news by telling it first. Norma's ensuing temper tantrum and cruelty towards Charlie angered their father, and Matt Gordon consequently refused to buy her a dog. Charlie painfully recalls how Norma rejected him from that day on.

Seeking comfort, Charlie visits Alice at the Beekman Center for Retarded Adults. Charlie's old classmates marvel at his new "big-shot" attitude, and Alice is furious. She accuses Charlie, the newly-made intellectual genius, of being cold-hearted and condescending. Charlie yells back, "What did you expect? Did you think I'd remain a docile pup, wagging my tail and licking the foot that kicks me? I no longer have to take the kind of crap that people have been handing me all my life." PR 11, pg. 85 Alice reveals that Charlie's genius makes her feel self-conscious and inferior. Charlie realizes that his new genius I.Q. of 185 poses as much of a barrier in their relationship as his old I.Q. of 70.

Depressed, Charlie wanders through Central Park and meets a promiscuous woman on a park bench. Her sexual advances excite Charlie. Surprisingly, he does not feel the usual panic and nausea. Charlie's discovery that the lewd woman is pregnant triggers negative memories, and he grabs the woman in disgust. Her fearful cries attract a crowd of men who pursue Charlie through the woods. Troubled by the crude experience, Charlie writes, "Remembering how my mother looked before she gave birth to my sister is frightening. But even more frightening is the feeling that I wanted them to catch me and beat me. Why did I want to be punished? Shadows out of the past clutch at my legs and drag me down. I open my mouth to scream, but I am voiceless. My hands are trembling, I feel cold, and there is a distant humming in my ears." PR 12, pg. 92

Topic Tracking: Sexuality 4

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