Flowers for Algernon Essay

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Scholes is an American scholar and critic who has written widely on postmodern realistic fiction. In the following excerpt, he discusses Flowers for Algernon as a work of science fiction, dividing its main idea into two halves: the operation to develop Charlie's intelligence-a familiar motif in science fiction-and the impermanence of the operation, which distinguishes the novel as an original and powerful work. Additionally Scholes observes that the book's packaging circumvents questions about its genre.

Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon might be called minimal SF. It establishes only one discontinuity between its world and our own, and this discontinuity requires no appreciable reorientation of our assumptions about man, nature, or society. Yet this break with the normal lifts the whole story out of our familiar experiential situation. It is the thing which enables everything else in the novel, and it is thus crucial to the generation of this...

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This section contains 1,276 words
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Flowers for Algernon from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.