Flowers for Algernon Study Guide Questions

Progress Report 1-6

1. Why do you think it is important for Charlie to write down “every thing that happins” to him?
2. Why can’t Charlie find the pictures in the inkblot?
3. Why does Charlie think he fails the test?
4. Why does Charlie want to be smart so badly?
5. What kind of person is Gimpy? How do you know?
6. What is Charlie’s relationship with his family now? How about in the past?
7. What does Charlie think of Algernon?
8. Compare and contrast Charlie’s motivation to Algernon’s motivation.
9. Write two paragraphs describing Charlie.
10. What are the risks? What are the possible benefits to science, Charlie, and others like him? Do you agree that Charlie should risk the operation? 12.How is the operation a “2nd chanse” for Charlie?
11. What kind of person is Miss Kinnian? How do you know?

Progress Report 7

1. How was Charlie’s operation “like a show”?
2. What has changed about Charlie’s writing?
3. Do you think the operation was a success? Why?
4. Do you agree with Hilda? Why or why not?
5. Why do you think Charlie got a new nurse?

Progress Report 8

1. How does Charlie feel about Algernon at the beginning of Progress Report 8?
2. How has the operation affected Charlie’s attitude?
3.Why do you think the operation has to be a secret?
4. What is Charlie’s attitude about people who laugh at him?
5. Why does Charlie miss the bakery?
6. What is ironic about Joe’s comment about the operation?
7. What does it mean to “pull a Charlie Gordon”?
8. Why did Charlie almost not go to school at Beekman College? Explain why this was not a good reason to avoid education.
9. Why doesn’t Charlie know what the word subconscious means even after looking it up in the dictionary?
10. Why did the guys from the bakery ask Charlie along? How did they treat him when he was there?
11. How did Charlie feel when he beat Algernon? Why?
12. What does Charlie’s wish for Robinson Crusoe reveal about himself?

Progress Report 9

1. Why are Frank and Joe mad on page 26?
2. What important question has Charlie started asking?
3. What does Miss Kinnian get in her eye?
4. Does Charlie understand commas at first? How can you tell?
5. What “sickness” keeps Charlie home from work?
6. What does Charlie realize about his friends?
7. Explain the statement “The more intelligent you become the more problems you’ll have, Charlie.” Do you think this is true for all individuals? Why or why not?
8. How does Charlie feel about being laughed at?
9. What happened at P.S. 13?
10. How did the other children treat Charlie when he was younger?
11. Why do you think sharing his progress reports suddenly starts to bother Charlie?
12. Why does Charlie refer to himself in the third person when discussing himself before the operation?

Progress Report 10

1. How is Frank and Gimpy’s experiment different from the experiment of Nemur and Strauss? How are the experiments the same?
2. What is Charlie’s real motivation for learning to make the rolls?
3. When did Charlie try to learn to make the rolls?
4. What “silly” things did Charlie do because he wanted to be a part of the university?
5. What is the purpose of college according to Charlie?
6. Has your opinion of Gimpy changed? Why or why not?
7. What seems real about Charlie’s dream of his mother? What seems unrealistic?
8. What is unique about Charlie’s mother’s tears?
9. Do you agree with Charlie’s father or Charlie’s mother about how they should treat Charlie and where he should go to school? Why?
10. Who is Matt Gordon and where does he go at the end of Progress Report 10?
Progress Report 11

1. Why hasn’t Charlie noticed how beautiful Miss Kinnian is before?
2. What character in the story resembles the depraved governess from the second film?
3. Why does Charlie say he hates Miss Kinnian more than anyone before?
4. What do you think Charlie is afraid of? How does his dream relate to that fear?
5. Do you agree with Nemur, Strauss, or Charlie about telling Mr. Donner?
6. How is the way in which others treat Charlie as a very intelligent man similar to the way he was treated before the operation?
7. What does Charlie realize about college professors?
8. Who is the boy Charlie saw?
9. Why did Charlie get fired? Who was the “delegation”?
10. What argument does Fanny Birden make about the moral implications of the operation? Do you agree with her? Why or why not?

Progress Report 12

1. According to Charlie, how can language be a barrier? How can it be a pathway?
2. Why does Charlie dream that the bride and groom on the cake laugh at him?
5. How does Alice really feel about Charlie’s operation? How can you tell?
6. What does Alice point out to Charlie that, no matter how intelligent you are, no one can ever know? Do you agree with her? Why or why not?
7. What drives Charlie to go prowling late at night?
8. Compare and contrast Charlie before the operation to the woman in the park.
9. Why does Charlie treat the woman in the park the way he does?

 Progress Report 13

1.Charlie states, “At this point my feelings are more important than anything else.” Why is this statement ironic?
2. Why is Charlie afraid of being strapped in with the seat belt?
3. What is Dr. Guarino’s motivation?
4. Compare and contrast Nemur/Strauss and Guarino.
5. What do Charlie’s parents forget when they get home?
6. When does Rose Gordon stop trying to make Charlie smart? Why?
7. Did Nemur and Strauss create Charlie? Explain your answer.
8. Where did Charlie get his unusual motivation for becoming smart? Is it a good or bad thing? Why?
9. What does Charlie realize about the knowledge of specialists in their own field?
10. What, according to Burt, is Nemur’s peculiar motivation?
11. What pivotal realization does Charlie have at the conference during Nemur’s speech?
12. Do you think Algernon understands Charlie when he speaks to him? Why or why not?
13. Why does Charlie want to see his parents? What do you think he will say? What will they say in response?
Progress Report 14

1. How does Charlie feel about being in solitude?
2. Do you agree that “life is just a box of mazes”?
3. After hearing the story of Charlie’s last night at home, what is ironic about the shave Charlie receives at the barbershop?
4. What has Charlie learned about Algernon’s motivation to learn?
5. Why is Charlie afraid of losing his “peanuts”?
6. What is Charlie guilty of in the diner that hurts him most of all?
7. What discover does Charlie tell Alice he has made about himself?
8. Explain Charlie’s statement “It’s not love, but she’s important to me.”
9. How does Charlie’s behavior compare to Algernon’s?
10. Compare and contrast Alice and Fay.

 Progress Report 15

1. What is happening to Algernon?
2. Why doesn’t Charlie want Algernon disposed of according to normal lab procedures?
3. Where will Charlie be “disposed of” if the experiment fails? How does he feel about this? Why?
4. What is Charlie’s opinion of many psychological theories?
5. What might happen if Fay and Alice did meet?

Progress Report 16

1. Why do you think Charlie feels the need to see Warren alone?
2. What color is associated with Charlie’s trip to Warren? Why?
3. What does Charlie discover about Warren?
4. According to Ray, why do the “high-moron types” usually return to Warren?
5. What is disturbing about Cottage K?
6. Explain the statement “[they] aren’t afraid to give away a part of themselves.”
7. Why does Winslow become angry with Charlie? Is his anger justified? Why or why not?
8. Why does Charlie identify with Algernon?
9. What does Charlie say are the most wonderful things a man can have? Do you agree? Why or why not?
10. Why does Charlie say that in some ways he was better off before the operation?
11. What does Charlie say he has learned?
12. In what way was Charlie’s life before the operation like living in a cave?
13. How can the disproving of a theory be just as beneficial to the scientific community as proving a theory?
14. Charlie claims no one is to blame? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
15. What pivotal event happens on September 15?
16. How are the changes in the old neighborhood symbolic of the changes in Rose?
17. What is ironic about Norma’s stance on retirement homes?
18. How was Charlie’s homecoming different than he expected? How was it different from what you expected?

Progress Report 17

1. Why doesn’t Charlie want to do mazes and tests anymore?
2. What is the theme of the novel?
3. What did Charlie lose that he had before the operation?
4. Why was Charlie mean to Alice?
5. What happens to Charlie’s writing at the end of the book?
6. What is Charlie most concerned about forgetting and why?
7. Is Charlie glad he had the operation? Why?
8. Do you think it was a good thing that Charlie had the operation? Why or why not?