Flowers for Algernon

by: Daniel Keyes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 1

And he said that meens Im doing something grate for sience and Ill be famus and my name will go down in the books. I dont care so much about beeing famus. I just want to be smart like other pepul so I can have lots of frends who like me.

Here, in his “progris riport 6th,” Charlie recounts a conversation he has with Nemur shortly before his operation. Nemur cannot guarantee that Charlie’s procedure will be successful, but he is trying to make Charlie feel good about his participation in the experiment nonetheless. Nemur’s attempts to impress Charlie with promises of fame and great contributions to science reveal his true motivations. It is Nemur who wants his name to “go down in the books,” not Charlie. On the contrary, Charlie’s reason for wanting to be intelligent is purely social: he wants people to like him. Charlie knows that his retardation has cut him off from most of society, but his powerlessness does not upset him. Charlie does not long to join society to increase his social standing; rather, he longs to join primarily because he is lonely. In Charlie’s mind, intelligence is the quality that will gain him entry into a world of friends. The resulting irony is that when Charlie does become incredibly intelligent, he finds himself even lonelier than before.