Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 7, 2023
September 30, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
Charlie’s initial leaps forward in intellectual ability are conveyed less by what he writes than by how he writes. Keyes signals Charlie’s changing intellectual state through the level of accuracy or inaccuracy of the grammar, spelling, and punctuation in Charlie’s progress reports. The first sentence of the novel, typical of Charlie’s early reports, is rife with errors: “Dr Strauss says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir and evrey thing that happins to me from now on.” By Progress Report 9, we see Charlie’s immense progress in his composition of flawless sentences: “I had a nightmare last night, and this morning, after I woke up, I free-associated the way Dr. Strauss told me to do when I remember my dreams.” Similarly, Keyes initially conveys the loss of Charlie’s intelligence at the end with the erosion of his grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Starting in Progress Report 9, Charlie is overwhelmed by a series of flashbacks to events from his youth. These flashbacks are provoked by experiences in the present: when Charlie is propositioned by the pregnant woman in Central Park, for example, he recalls his mother’s pregnancy with his sister. All of Charlie’s memories come in the form of such revelations and recall events of which he was not previously aware. These new memories hold new lessons for Charlie about his past and shed new light on his present neuroses. The flashbacks are interspersed with the narrative, so that the stories of Charlie’s present and past intertwine and reflect upon each other.
Charlie and Algernon are subjects in scientific experiments, and as Charlie becomes intelligent, he actually ends up internalizing much of the scientific methodology to which he has been subjected. Not only does Charlie become well versed in the technicalities of science, surpassing Professor Nemur’s knowledge, but he also approaches his emotional problems in a scientific manner. When Charlie realizes that the feelings of shame triggered by his emotional attachment to Alice render him incapable of making love to her, he devises a scientific experiment to test this principle. Charlie decides to try to pretend that Alice is Fay, to whom he is not so emotionally attached, in order to see if doing so will allow him to make love without panicking. Charlie is unable to go through with this experiment, however, because he realizes that he would be effectively placing Alice in the dehumanizing role of laboratory animal, a role he finds deplorable. The scientific pursuit of knowledge becomes Charlie’s guiding principle, but he is aware of the dangers of dehumanization that accompany it. In the end, when Charlie knows his intelligence will desert him and he contemplates suicide, he decides that he must go on living and continue to keep progress reports so that he can pass on knowledge of his unique journey.
Take the Themes, Motifs, and Symbols Quick Quiz
Ace your assignments with our guide to Flowers for Algernon!