An Importance to Create Happiness Around in Flowers For Algernon

February 15, 2021 by Essay Writer

Our society has created the illusion that nothing fulfilling ever happens. The constant focus on pessimistic topics in the press and the media has instilled a haze of negativity over all of us, and it seems as though we have lost the ability for optimism. However, that is not the case for Charlie Gordon in Flowers for Algernon. In his instance, his mental disorder restricts him from realizing the world’s reality and harshness. Therefore, his contentedness is much greater than his peers’ because of his lack of knowledge.

Charlie’s mental restrictions made him a very easy target for provocative comments. His mentality wasn’t based upon his potential vulnerability like others which causes them to be defensive and judgmental, it was based on making friends and relating to others in a positive way. Even though he was being made fun of, for example when a girl said, “He’s a scream.” (pg. 208), he thought they were just making fun of him in a “mean friend” way, and therefore made him immune to their derogatory comments. Although he was oblivious to the meaning of their quizzacious remarks, he did have a feeling of embarrassment, “I wanted to hide myself.” (pg. 208) However, his feelings of embarrassment were caused by his thought that they were only teasing him in a different way, not in a negative way. Charlie never realized the underlying intention of his coworkers’ insults because of his optimistic mindset and his mental condition.

After Charlie’s operation, his intellectual level increased drastically and very suddenly causing him to realize certain things that he’d never noticed before. Not very long after the operation, he says, “Only a short time ago, I learned that people laughed at me. Now I see that unknowingly I joined in with them in laughing at myself” (pg. 216). Another example is when Charlie went to his old class and realized his mistake, “…I said holy smoke I reely pulled a Charlie Gordon that time.[SIC]” (pg. 223). He also realized that before his operation, his coworkers weren’t teasing him in a friendly manner after all, but denoting him as a dumb child oblivious to the world—which he was—and trying to degrade his mentality. After this incident, Charlie’s emotional state altered. He was no longer a buoyant child trying to befriend everyone; now he was very cautious and at the same time slowly being cloaked in the ominous haze of negativity where he was not as happy as he had been before he underwent the operation.

Once Charlie’s knowledge accumulation had reached its peak, his intelligence started to degenerate even faster than he had acquired it. Because of this, people began to pity him; but he didn’t want their pity, he just wanted to have friends who didn’t feel bad for him. In his words, “I dont want Miss Kinnian to feel sorry for me. Evrybody feels sorry at the factery and I dont want that eather so Im going someplace where nobody knows that Charlie Gordon was once a genus and now he cant even reed a book or rite good.[SIC]” (pg. 223). He felt that others wouldn’t like him anymore because of his loss of competence. As a result, he became depressed, not because he had become inept. but at the thought of being unaccepted and friendless. Charlie became depressed when he became mentally confined again, but he still focused his thoughts on becoming happy again by moving away and making new friends. Charlie may have been dejected, but it was caused by his feeling of failure, his feeling that he didn’t work hard enough to get smarter. He wouldn’t have experienced that feeling of failure if he hadn’t had the operation because he didn’t understand failure and pity before the procedure. Therefore, when we know more about certain emotions and their origins, we become more sensitive to them when felt. In the end however, Charlie left with a feeling of hope. He said “Im going to have lots of friends where I go.[SIC]” (pg. 223), which was the same mentality he had before the operation. Overall, Charlie may have been despondent after the operation, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t smart anymore, it was because he didn’t want his friends to reject and pity him, and in the end, he decided to stay positive and be happy whilst being in his state of ineptitude. We seek more knowledge in order to grow and advance in society and technology. However, we seem to miss the point of acquiring knowledge. Just knowing things won’t make us happy as portrayed by Charlie Gordon, but utilizing the things we know for the greater good can not only make us happier but also makes us stronger as individuals. Although ignorance does influence bliss and knowledge can create negative feelings, we must use both concepts in one way. That is to use the knowledge we have to create happiness we can achieve, not use knowledge we think we have. To be happier, we must educate ourselves in way that will benefit us for the greater good in order to dissolve the negative haze that surrounds us and create an enthusiastic aura around us to enforce positivity and eliminate pessimism.


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