Flowers for Algernon Historical Context

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The issue which lies at the heart of Flowers for Algernon is Charlie Gordon's struggle to be recognized and treated as a human being. Prior to his operation, he was regarded as somehow less than fully human because of his subnormal intelligence. After the operation, he is discriminated against in a different way, as ordinary people shun him and the scientists who raised his IQ treat him as little more than another laboratory specimen. It should come as no surprise that this story of a person who manages to be a member of two different minorities-the mentally handicapped and the mentally superior-should have appeared during a time of growing awareness of the problems and the rights of minority groups.

The period from the first publication of Flowers for Algernon as a short story to its publication as a novel, the period from 1959 to...

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This section contains 595 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Flowers for Algernon Study Guide
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Flowers for Algernon from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.