Flowers for Algernon

From Academic Kids

Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction story written by Daniel Keyes. It was originally published as a novelette in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, winning a Hugo award for Best Short Fiction in 1960, and it was later extended into a full-length novel by the same name, which won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1966. It has also been filmed three times: first, as Charly in 1968, starring Cliff Robertson; second, under its own title, dramatized for BBC Radio 4 with Tom Courtenay as Charlie; and finally, in 2000, it was made into a TV movie starring Matthew Modine. It was also even made into a musical starring Michael Crawford. But to many people, the most moving and successful version of the story is the original novelette.

Also Japanese rock singer Kyosuke Himuro's solo debut album title is "Flowers for Algernon". Its title is derived from science fiction with the same name.

Charlie Gordon is a 32-year-old mentally retarded janitor, who volunteers to take part in an experimental intelligence-enhancing treatment. Algernon is a laboratory mouse who is also 'enhanced'. The story is told from Charlie's point of view and written as a journal, or progris riport, which he was asked to keep as part of the experiment. Succeeding entries trace Charlie's ever-increasing comprehension and intelligence in the aftermath of the treatment, as he passes through "normality", and then reaches super-genius level. All seems to be proceeding according to plan, until Algernon's enhanced intelligence begins to fade rapidly. As Charlie himself proves theoretically, the neural enhancement cannot be sustained, and he too is doomed to return to his original self, with his decay recorded in the journal. The title's mention of flowers is a reference to Charlie's request that "please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard...".

The story is extremely effective because it is told from Charlie's point of view, and as Charlie's mental state shifts, it is reflected in his writings. He becomes depressed, for example, when he poignantly realizes he can no longer understand his own proof that his mind will decay away.

In January 1970, the school board of Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, banned the novel-length expansion of Flowers from the local grade-nine curriculum and the school library, after a parent complained that it was "filthy and immoral". The president of the BC Teachers' Federation criticized the action. Flowers was part of the BC Department of Education list of approved books for grade nine and was recommended by the BC Secondary Association of Teachers of English. A month later the board reconsidered, and returned the book to the library; they did not, however, lift its ban from the curriculum. [Mind War: Book Censorship in English Canada, p. 37; Not in Our Schools! p. 9] It should be noted that whereas the full novel does contain material about the character's personal life i.e. flashbacks of pubertic experiences that may be highly objectionable to many people, the original short story is squeaky clean in this regard.

In 2004, an episode of the television series Century City had a plot line in which a formerly-retarded man sues to keep the implant which had given him superior intelligence. It was discovered that the implants were causing their recipients to die.ja:アルジャーノンに花束を th:ดอกไม้สำหรับอัลเจอนอน


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