The short story, "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes is a part of contemporary American literature that is read and studied in middle and high schools around the world. This Flowers for Algernon guide will help readers to understand the literary elements implemented within the story.
Using the Study Questions
The questions you will find in this article are only helpful if you do your best to answer them with textual evidence. Going back into the text will not only MAKE you go back and reread the text, but it will also require you to process the story on a more meaningful level. Using the questions below, create note cards to carry with you before your "Flowers for Algernon" short story exam. Read over the cards when you have spare moments to study. Reading the cards several times versus one quick study session will ensure you retain the information.
Progress Reports 1-10
- What aspects of the first two progress reports can lead the reader to infer that "Flowers for Algernon" is written from the 1st person point of view?
- In Progress Report 3, what does Charlie's inablility to understand the Rorschach and Thematic Apperception tests reveal about his abilities and personality?
- What can we infer about Dr. Strauss and Nemur's relationship from Charlie's summary of the argument he overheard between them?
- Compare and contrast Charlie and Algernon. In what ways are they similiar and different?
- What traits does Charlie possess that resulted in him being selected for the experiment?
- What evidence from the text in the March 8th entry reveals how the doctors feel about Charlie?
- Why does the author's use of 1st person point of view allow the reader to learn more about Charlie's emotions than they would from a 3rd person point of view narration?
- What tone words would best describe Progress Report 7? What is changing about Charlie's mood in Progress Report 7?
- Describe Charlie's relationship with his coworkers at the factory? Why is Charlie's view of their relationship an example of situational irony?
- What can you infer about Miss Kinnian and her feelings for Charlie after reading the April 15th entry?
Progress Reports 11-13
- What details and evidence from Progress Report 11 does Charlie share with the reader that reveals his progress after the operation?
- What important events happened at Joe Carp's party? Why will Charlie's relationship with his work "friends" never be the same?
- Compare the April 21st entry to March 8th entry. In both entries, Charlie describes an argument between Dr. Strauss and Nemur. What is different about the details and wording he chooses to describe the March 8th argument in comparison with the April 21st argument?
- What biblical allusion is used by Fanny to explain why Charlie's coworkers wanted him fired from Donnegan's Plastic Box Company?
- What details from the May 15th entry prove that Charlie's intelligence is growing and increasing daily?
- What is causing conflict in Charlie's relationships with Miss Kinnian, Dr. Nemur and Dr. Strauss?
- Why does Charlie identify with bus boy in the restaurant?
- What are the first indications that Charlie's intelligence might be temporary?
- Charlie decides to continue Dr. Strauss and Nemur's research. Why?
- What evidence in the text supports the claim that Charlie's condition is deteriorating, but he still remains hopeful?