Flowers for Algernon Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 76 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Flowers for Algernon.
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Science and Technology

Relating the story of a mentally impaired man whose intelligence is increased through surgery and then lost, Flowers for Algernon touches on a number of literary themes. The most obvious of the novel's themes is the use and abuse of science and technology. The critic Mark R. Hillegas has identified Flowers for Algernon as the type of science fiction which deals with "problems imagined as resulting from inventions, discoveries, or scientific hypotheses" -in this case, a surgical procedure that can turn a person of subnormal intelligence into a genius. While the novel does not specifically take an anti-technology stance, it does make clear the limitations of technology as a "quick fix" to human problems--Charlie's operation is, ultimately, a failure in that he does not remain a genius. In a reversal of the classic notion of tragedy, the "flaw" which causes Charlie's downfall is not within him...

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This section contains 1,016 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Flowers for Algernon Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Flowers for Algernon from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.