64 pages 2 hours read

Daniel Keyes

Flowers For Algernon

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1966

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Teacher Introduction

Flowers for Algernon

  • Genre: Fiction; science fiction
  • Originally Published: 1959 (short story); 1966 (expanded novel)
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 910L; grades 8 and up
  • Structure/Length: Progress reports; approximately 311 pages; approximately 8 hours, 58 minutes on audiobook
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The story is presented in the form of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, a man who is intellectually disabled and has an IQ of 68. Charlie undergoes experimental surgery to increase his intelligence, inspired by the success of a laboratory mouse named Algernon. As Charlie's intelligence rapidly increases, he grapples with newfound emotions, relationships, and the painful realization of how he was treated before the surgery. The central conflict centers on Charlie's journey of self-discovery, his quest for acceptance and understanding, and the ethical implications of scientific advancement.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Discussion of intellectual disabilities; medical procedures; bullying; mature themes; sex

Daniel Keyes, Author

  • Bio: Born 1927; American author and professor; wrote in various genres, including science fiction, fantasy, and mystery; "Flowers for Algernon" is his best-known work, exploring themes of intelligence, identity, and human nature; received a Nebula Award for the original short story and a Hugo Award for the novel version; worked as an English and creative writing professor; advocated for the rights of people with disabilities; left a lasting impact on literature and discussions about ethics and the treatment of individuals with disabilities
  • Other Works: "The Touch" (1968); "The Fifth Sally" (1980); "The Minds of Billy Milligan" (1981); "Algernon, Charlie, and I: A Writer's Journey" (2000)
  • Awards: Nebula Award for Best Novel (1966)