Daniel Keyes

{EN} Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes

1. “If you’d read your Bible, Charlie, you’d know that it’s not meant for man to know more than was given to him to know by the Lord in the first place. The fruit of that tree was forbidden to man. Charlie, if you done anything you wasn’t supposed to—you know, like with the devil or something—maybe it ain’t too late to get out of it. Maybe you could go back to being the good simple man you was before.”

2. “Now I can see where I got the unusual motivation for becoming smart that so amazed everyone at first. It was something Rose Gordon lived with day and night. Her fear, her guilt, her shame that Charlie was a moron. Her dream that something could be done. The urgent question always: whose fault was it, hers or Matt’s? Only after Norma proved to her that she was capable of having normal children, and that I was a freak, did she stop trying to make me over. But I guess I never stopped wanting to be the smart boy she wanted me to be, so that she would love me.”

3. “He makes the same mistake as the others when they look at a feeble-minded person and laugh because they don’t understand there are human feelings involved. He doesn’t realize that I was a person before I came here.”

4. “I wanted him to boast about me to the customers tomorrow as he gave haircuts and shaves. That would make it all real. If he knew I was his son, then I would be a person.”

5. “Nothing in our minds is ever really gone.”

6. “How strange it is that people of honest feelings and sensibility, who would not take advantage of a man born without arms or legs or eyes—how such people think nothing of abusing a man born with low intelligence.”

7. “Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men. A child may not know how to feed itself, or what to eat, yet it knows hunger.”

8. “I can’t help feeling that I’m not me. I’ve usurped his place and locked him out the way they locked me out of the bakery. What I mean to say is that Charlie Gordon exists in the past, and the past is real. ”

9. “I went to see his—my—father. All I wanted to do was prove that Charlie existed as a person in the past, so that I could justify my own existence. I was insulted when Nemur said he created me. But I’ve discovered that not only did Charlie exist in the past, he exists now. In me and around me.”

10. “It’s Charlie, the little boy who’s afraid of women because of things his mother did to him.”

11. “Somehow I’ve become separated emotionally from everyone and everything. And what I was really searching for out there in the dark streets—the last damned place I could ever find it—was a way to make myself a part of people again emotionally, while still retaining my freedom intellectually. I’ve got to grow up. For me it means everything. …”

12. “This experiment was calculated to raise your intelligence, not to make you popular. We had no control over what happened to your personality, and you’ve developed from a likeable, retarded young man into an arrogant, self-centered, antisocial bastard.”

13. “Everything but treat me as a human being. You’ve boasted time and again that I was nothing before the experiment, and I know why. Because if I was nothing, then you were responsible for creating me, and that makes you my lord and master. You resent the fact that I don’t show my gratitude every hour of the day. Well, believe it or not, I am grateful. But what you did for me—wonderful as it is—doesn’t give you the right to treat me like an experimental animal.”

14. “He’s had several experiences of perceiving himself as he was before the experiment—as a separate and distinct individual still functioning in his consciousness—as if the old Charlie were struggling for control of the body.”

15. “But I don’t have any real friends. Not like I used to have in the bakery. Not a friend in the world who means anything to me, and no one I mean anything to.”

16. “I put Algernon’s body into a small metal container and took him home with me. I wasn’t going to let them dump him into the incinerator. It’s foolish and sentimental, but late last night I buried him in the back yard. I wept as I put a bunch of wild flowers on the grave.”

17. “The nightmare of all those years had been pain enough. I wanted to see her smiling and know I had been the one to make her happy. For the first time in my life, I had brought a smile to her lips.”

18. “But then I think of Charlie waiting at the window. His life is not mine to throw away. I’ve just borrowed it for a while, and now I’m being asked to return it.”

19. “I am afraid. Not of life, or death, or nothingness, but of wasting it as if I had never been.”

20. “Before you had the operation, you weren’t like this. You didn’t wallow in your own filth and self-pity, you didn’t pollute your own mind by sitting in front of the TV set all day and night, you didn’t snarl and snap at people. There was something about you that made us respect you—yes, even as you were. You had something I had never seen in a retarded person before.”
“I don’t regret the experiment.”
“Neither do I, but you’ve lost something you had before. You had a smile…”
“An empty, stupid smile.”
“No, a warm, real smile, because you wanted people to like you.”

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