Quotes From 'Flowers for Algernon' by Daniel Keyes

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Flowers for Algernon is a famous novel by Daniel Keyes. It's a bittersweet novel of a mentally disabled man named Charlie, who undergoes an experimental procedure to gain higher intelligence. The book follows his evolution from his low level, through his experiences of coming to understand the world around him. The book raises ethical and moral questions about the treatment of the disabled and happiness. The story is told through Charlie's diaries and other documents. One of the ways Keyes portrayed Charlie's intelligence was through the evolution of his spelling and grammar. 

Quotes From Flowers for Algernon

  • "Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eye are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter life, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity the other." -The Republic, Preface
  • "all my life I wantid to be smart and not dumb and my mom always tolld me to try and lern just like Miss Kinnian tells me but its very hard to be smart and even when I lern something in Miss Kinnians class at the school I ferget alot." 
  • "I dint know mice were so smart." 
  • "If your smart you can have lots of frends to talk to and you never get lonley by yourself all the time." 
  • "Some times somebody will say hey lookit Frank, or Joe or even Gimpy. He really pulled a Charlie Gordon that time. I don't know why they say it but they always laff and I laff too."
  • "I beet Algernon. I dint even know I beet him until Burt Selden told me. Then the second time I lost because I got so excited. But after that I beet him 8 more times. I must be getting smart to beat a smart mouse like Algernon. But I dont feel smarter."
  • "She says Im a fine person and Ill show them all. I asked her why. She said never mind but I shouldnt feel bad if I find out everybody isnt nice like I think." 
  • "One thing? I, like: about, Dear Miss Kinnian: (thats, the way? it goes; in a business, letter (if I ever go! into business?) is that, she: always gives me' a reason" when - I ask. She"s a gen'ius! I cou'd be smart like-her, Punctuation , is? fun!" 
  • "I never knew before that Joe and Frank and the others liked to have me around just to make fun of me. Now I know what they mean wen they say 'to pull a Charlie Gordon.' I'm ashamed."
  • "Now I want you to look at this card, Charlie. What might this be? What do you see on this card? People see all kinds of things in these inkblots. Tell me what it makes you think of."
  • "I was seeing them clearly for the first time - not gods or even heroes, but just two men worried about getting something out of their work." 
  • "It had been all right as long as they could laugh at me and appear clever at my expense, but now they were feeling inferior to the moron. I began to see that by my astonishing growth I had made them shrink and emphasized their inadequacies." 
  • "I had betrayed them, and they hated me for it." 
  • "Our relationship is becoming increasingly strained. I resent Nemur's constant references to me as a laboratory specimen. He makes me feel that before the experiment was not really a human being." 
  • "What did you expect? Did you think I'd remain a docile pup, wagging my tail and licking the foot that kicks me? I no longer have to take the kind of crap that people have been handing me all my life." 
  • "Remembering how my mother looked before she gave birth to my sister is frightening. But even more frightening is the feeling that I wanted them to catch me and beat me. Why did I want to be punished? Shadows out of the past clutch at my legs and drag me down. I open my mouth to scream, but I am voiceless. My hands are trembling, I feel cold, and there is a distant humming in my ears." 
  • "It may sound like ingratitude, but that is one of the things I hate here - the attitude that I am a guinea pig. Nemur's constant references to having made me what I am, or that someday there will be others like me who will become real human beings. How can I make him understand that he did not create me?" 
  • "They had pretended to be geniuses. But they were just ordinary men working blindly, pretending to be able to bring light into the darkness. Why is it that everyone lies? No one I know is what he appears to be." 
  • "Nothing in our minds is ever really gone. The operation had covered him over with a veneer of education and culture, but emotionally he was there--watching and waiting." 
  • "I'm not your friend. I'm your enemy. I'm not going to give up my intelligence without a struggle. I can't go back down into that cave. There's no place for me to go now, Charlie. So you've got to stay away." 
  • "the men of the cave would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes." 
  • "I passed your floor on the way up, and now I'm passing it on the way down, and I don't think I'll be taking this elevator again." 
  • "P.S. please if you get a chance put some flowers on Algernon's grave in the back yard."
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Lombardi, Esther. "Quotes From 'Flowers for Algernon' by Daniel Keyes." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021, thoughtco.com/flowers-for-algernon-quotes-739762. Lombardi, Esther. (2021, July 29). Quotes From 'Flowers for Algernon' by Daniel Keyes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/flowers-for-algernon-quotes-739762 Lombardi, Esther. "Quotes From 'Flowers for Algernon' by Daniel Keyes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/flowers-for-algernon-quotes-739762 (accessed March 21, 2023).