Notes on Flowers for Algernon Themes

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Flowers for Algernon Topic Tracking: Faith

Progress Report 6

Faith 1: Charlie puts his faith in luck; he carries his rabbit's foot, horseshoe, and lucky penny wherever he goes. Dr. Strauss tells Charlie not to be so superstitious because he is a man of science. While Charlie believes in fortune, Dr. Strauss believes in the scientific method.

Progress Report 8

Faith 2: Another form of faith is religion. Charlie knows that religion involves a god, and that one should love God and pray to him. Charlie does not know how to pray, but he remembers his mother constantly asking God to make Charlie smart when he was small. At the hospital, a busy-body nurse suggest that Charlie has interfered with God's plan by allowing doctors to operate on his brain. The nurse's faith tells her that man should accept what God gives him rather than eating from the Tree of Knowledge like Adam and Eve. Finally, Miss Kinnian expresses personal faith in Charlie himself; becoming smart will take a lot of hard work, but she believes in Charlie and has faith that he will succeed.

Progress Report 9

Faith 3: Fanny Birden quotes the Bible and says it was wrong for Charlie to know more than what God originally gave to him. Fanny says it is evil to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, and she worries that Charlie has sinned. Charlie puts his faith in science rather than religion. He says that science can help millions all over the world. Through science, man can see the light.

Progress Report 17

Faith 4: Charlie experiences an out-of-body experience during a therapy session with Dr. Strauss. He feels light and free as he floats through time and space. Shaking off the mortal world, Charlie opens his mind to the new experience. He wonders if he will see God, or if God even exists.

Faith 5: Charlie's faith regresses back to the primitive level of superstition. His considers his mental deterioration as bad luck resulting from the loss of his rabbit's foot and horseshoe.

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