Flowers for Algernon Progress Report 17
Deeply depressed, Charlie contemplates suicide until he realizes that his life belongs to the old Charlie Gordon. During a therapy session with Dr. Strauss, Charlie experiences a bizarre out-of-body hallucination, filled with light and the sensation of floating. He envisions a dark cave and Plato's words haunt him: "...the men of the cave would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes..." PR 17, pg. 199
Charlie refuses to run more mazes and he panics when he forgets the meaning of responses to the Rorschach test. Unable to bear his loss, Charlie asks Burt to say goodbye to everyone for him. "I passed your floor on the way up, and now I'm passing it on the way down, and I don't think I'll be taking this elevator again." PR 17, pg. 201
Books that Charlie can no longer read and records he no longer enjoys pile up in the corner of his apartment. Alice visits Charlie, saddened at the thought of losing him. Charlie feels the barriers between them have finally fallen, and he makes love to her tenderly. Alice promises to stay with Charlie until he tells her to leave. Mental deterioration accelerates, and Charlie can no longer read foreign languages or even his own scientific report. Charlie feels that he is falling apart. After a quarrel, he orders Alice to leave. Rapidly deteriorating, Charlie's punctuation and spelling worsen and he prays that he may retain the ability to read and write. Charlie attributes his lousy luck to the loss of his rabbit's foot and horseshoe. Charlie explains the failed operation to Mr. Donner and regains his job at the bakery. His coworkers take pity on him and Charlie is happy to have friends again.
Falling into his old routine, Charlie attends Miss Kinnian's class at the Beekman adult center. Alice is shocked by Charlie's regression, and Charlie suddenly remembers the failed operation. Everyone feels sorry for Charlie, and he cannot bear it. He decides to go away to the Warren State Home. Charlie closes his final progress report by telling Miss Kinnian not to feel sorry; he is grateful for all that he learned about his family and himself. Charlie pledges to keep on learning and trying to get smart, and he urges Professor Nemur to stop being such a grouch. Finally, in a postscript, Charlie writes, "P.S. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard." PR 17, pg. 216