Flowers for Algernon (Progress Report Summaries)

“progris riport 1 martch 3”
~In his first “progris riport,” Charlie has an IQ of 68 and is a poor speller
~He is 32 years old, has a menial job at Donner’s Bakery, and takes Miss Alice Kinnian’s literacy class 3 times a week at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults
~Dr. Strauss, who along with Professor Nemur is a director of the experiment, has instructed Charlie to write everything he thinks and feels in these progress reports
“progris riport 2—martch 4”
~A man named Burt Selden has given Charlie a “raw shok” test
~Burt shows Charlie a stack of white cards with ink spilled on them—called a Rorschach inkblot test—and asks Charlie to tell him what he sees in the ink
~The literal-minded Charlie, unable to grasp the concept of imagination, says that he sees only spilled ink
~He worries that he has “faled” the test
“3d progris riport”
~Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur have tested an intelligence-building procedure on animals and are now looking for a human subject
~Alice has recommended Charlie because of the eagerness to learn he has displayed in her literacy class
~When Strauss and Nemur question Charlie about this eagerness, Charlie mentions that his mother encouraged his education as a child
~The doctors tell Charlie that they need permission from his family to go ahead with the operation, but Charlie is not sure where they live or whether they are still alive
~Charlie worries that staying up late to work on reports is making him tired at his bakery job, where a coworker recently yelled at him for dropping a tray of rolls
“progris riport 4”
~A woman gives Charlie a test in which she shows him pictures of people he has never seen and asks him to invent stories about them
~As with the “raw shok” test, Charlie does not understand the point of making up stories and tells the woman that as a child he would be hit if he lied
~Burt then takes Charlie to a psychology laboratory, where he shows Charlie a mouse named Algernon who has already undergone Strauss and Nemur’s experimental surgery
~Burt has Charlie compete with Algernon by attempting to solve a maze on paper while Algernon runs through an identical maze
~Algernon beats Charlie every time
“progris riport 5 mar 6”
~Charlie says that the scientists have located his sister and have received her permission to proceed with the operation
~He listens to a conversation between Strauss, Nemur, and Burt
~Though Nemur fears that dramatically increasing Charlie’s “eye-Q” will make him sick, Strauss argues that Charlie’s motivation to learn is a great advantage
~Nemur tries to explain to Charlie that the operation is experimental and that they cannot be certain that it will succeed in making Charlie smarter
~There is even the potential that the operation will succeed temporarily but ultimately leave Charlie worse off than he is now
~Charlie is not worried, however, as he is thrilled to have been chosen and vows to “try awful hard” to become smarter
“progris riport 6th Mar 8”
~Charlie is in the hospital awaiting his operation
~Alice visits him, and Charlie senses that she is concerned
~He is nervous but still excited by the prospect of becoming smarter, and he cannot wait to beat Algernon in a maze race
~Charlie also looks forward to being as intelligent as other people so that he can make friends
~”I just want to be smart like other pepul so I can have lots of frends who like me.”
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“PROGRESS REPORT 7 MARCH 11”
~3 days have passed after the operation, and Charlie does not feel any change
~A nurse named Hilda tells him how to spell “progress report,” so he diligently begins to correct his misspellings
~Hilda also suggests to Charlie that God did not make him smart to begin with and that perhaps Nemur and Strauss should not be tampering with God’s will
~The next day, Hilda is replaced
~When Charlie asks the new nurse how babies are made, she is embarrassed and does not answer
~Alice comes to visit. When Charlie expresses disappointment that the operation has not made him smart right away, she reassures Charlie that she has faith in him
PROGRESS REPORT 8
~Charlie anxiously awaits the effects of the operation, as he is still losing his maze races with Algernon
~Charlie eats lunch with Burt in the college cafeteria and overhears the students discussing art, politics, and religion
~Charlie does not know what these subjects are, but he longs to understand them
~He goes back to work at the bakery, where his coworkers Joe Carp, Gimpy, and Frank Reilly taunt him
~Charlie does not understand that he is the butt of their jokes
~He writes that his coworkers sometimes refer to “pull[ing] a Charlie Gordon,” and Gimpy uses the phrase to describe a new employee’s misplacement of a birthday cake
~Ever eager to improve himself, Charlie asks Mr. Donner if he can learn to be an apprentice baker, but Donner tells him that he should focus on his cleaning

~Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur bring Charlie an odd television-like machine that plays images and speaks to him while he sleeps to help him “get smart.”
~Charlie is skeptical; he complains that the machine keeps him awake and makes him tired at work
~However, one night the machine triggers a memory, a recollection of the first time Charlie went to Alice’s class, determined to learn to read
~Charlie begins attending therapy sessions with Dr. Strauss, though he is not sure what purpose they serve
~Dr. Strauss explains to Charlie the concept of the conscious and subconscious mind, and says that the television-like device is designed to teach Charlie’s subconscious while he sleeps
~Dr. Strauss also gives Charlie a dictionary.

~After work one day, Frank and Joe take Charlie to a bar, where they urge him to dance like a buffoon and then abandon him
~Not comprehending that he is being made fun of, Charlie laughs along
~Back at the lab, Charlie finally beats Algernon in a maze race
~He also begins to remember more about his family
~Charlie recalls one time as a child when his sister, Norma, mocked him for saying he wanted to be a painter
~Alice comes to teach Charlie in the laboratory
~They begin to read Robinson Crusoe, the hardest book -Charlie has ever encountered, and together they work on his -spelling skills

PROGRESS REPORT 9
~Charlie shocks everyone in the bakery by proving that he is capable of working the dough mixer, and he gets promoted
~He finishes Robinson Crusoe and, wanting to know what happens to the characters after the novel ends, becomes frustrated when Alice tells him that the story does not continue beyond the end of the novel
~Charlie recovers another memory from his childhood, an episode from Norma’s infancy: Charlie had tried to pick Norma up to stop her from crying, but his mother screamed at him and told him never to touch the baby

~Alice begins to teach Charlie about grammar and punctuation
~He does not immediately grasp the concepts, but one night something clicks in his mind
~In the entry of April 8 it is clear that Charlie has mastered punctuation, literally overnight
~Frank and Joe take Charlie out again and make him dance with a girl, but this time Charlie realizes that they are mocking him, and he suddenly experiences anger and confusion
~He dreams about the girl who had danced with him and wakes up with the sheets “wet and messy.”

~Charlie recovers more memories
~He recalls a time when his Uncle Herman protected him from bullies
~Charlie also remembers an incident in which a childhood companion nastily rewrote a Valentine’s note Charlie had written to a girl at his school, making the girl’s brother furious and forcing Charlie to move to a new school

~Charlie’s reading, writing, and ability to retain information show sharp daily improvements
~He takes another Rorschach test, and he gets angry when he remembers his first “raw shok” experience
~Charlie insists that during the first administration of the test Burt told him to find specific secret pictures hidden in the inkblots, not simply to imagine his own pictures
~Nemur plays back a tape recording of the first administration of the test, and Charlie is shocked to learn that he is wrong: Burt gave Charlie identical instructions in both sessions, but Charlie lacked the mental capacity to understand them the first time
~Charlie is stunned to hear the childishness of his own voice in the tape recording
~He decides that he wants to keep some of his progress reports private, though he does not entirely understand why he feels such a need

PROGRESS REPORT 10
~Charlie reconfigures the machines at the bakery to increase productivity, which earns him another raise
~He remembers a time—referring to himself in the third person not as “I” but as “Charlie”—when Gimpy tried to teach him to make rolls but he was unable to get it right
~Charlie notices that his increased intelligence does not make his acquaintances proud of him; instead, they are uncomfortable and upset by his presence
~Charlie decides to ask Alice out to a movie to celebrate his raise, though he is unsure if such an invitation is appropriate
~Strauss and Nemur agree to let Charlie keep some reports private, and this makes him more comfortable writing about personal matters

~Charlie overhears Nemur and Strauss arguing about whether to present their preliminary findings at an upcoming convention in Chicago
~Strauss thinks it is premature, but as the senior member of the research team, Nemur overrides Strauss’s objections
~Noting the pettiness of the scientists’ argument, Charlie realizes that despite their intelligence they are flawed and fallible men

~Charlie befriends some of the college students he meets on campus, and he joyfully discusses Shakespeare with them
~They also discuss God, which causes Charlie to comprehend the enormity of religion for the first time
~Charlie later has a dream that triggers a flashback of his mother crying out, “He’s normal! He’s normal!” when he was six years old
~He also remembers his father’s attempts to force his mother to accept her son’s retardation
~Charlie remembers his mother hysterically spanking him for defecating in his pants
~He finally recalls his parents’ names, Matt and Rose

PROGRESS REPORT 11
~Charlie takes Alice (he now calls her “Alice” rather than “Miss Kinnian”) to the movies
~He realizes his attraction to her, and their physical proximity flusters him
~Charlie confesses his attraction to Alice over dinner
~She replies that it would be inappropriate, for the sake of the experiment, for them to develop a romance
~Charlie is upset that the books he reads do not offer solutions to the emotional turmoil he is experiencing
~He has a childhood memory of discovering Norma’s underpants in the laundry hamper, crusted with menstrual blood

~Charlie is distraught to discover that Gimpy has been stealing from the bakery, undercharging customers in exchange for kickbacks
~Charlie agonizes over whether he should tell Mr. Donner, and he asks both Nemur and Strauss for advice
~Strauss insists that Charlie has a moral obligation to tell, but Nemur argues that he should not become involved
~Nemur states that Charlie was practically an “inanimate object” before the operation and thus not accountable
~This idea angers Charlie immensely, and he feels that Nemur does not understand that he was a person even in his original disabled condition
~Charlie asks Alice for advice about the dilemma, and she tells him that he must feel his own decision from within

~Charlie suddenly understands that he is capable of making moral judgments himself
~He decides to confront Gimpy and give him the opportunity to mend his ways before he goes to Donner with his concerns
~Trapped, Gimpy grudgingly agrees, clearly disconcerted by Charlie’s inexplicable intelligence
~Thinking about Alice’s role in his newfound independence, Charlie decides that he is in love with her
~Meanwhile, Charlie’s intellectual pursuits advance far beyond an average level, and he now finds the college professors to be too limited and shortsighted to interest him

~Charlie takes Alice to a concert in Central Park
~Shortly after putting his arm around her, he sees a teenage boy watching them, his pants undone
~Charlie chases after the boy but cannot find him
~Later, he decides that the boy must have been a hallucination, which he thinks arose because his intellectual growth has outpaced his emotional growth
~Charlie has a genius’s IQ but is emotionally adolescent.

~Pressured by his other employees, Donner fires Charlie from the bakery
~Charlie is surprised at how much he misses the job, realizing for the first time how much it meant to him
~Fanny, a kindly coworker, feels sorry for Charlie, but she also fears his sudden change
~Fanny explains to Charlie the story of Adam and Eve and the tree of knowledge
~Later, Charlie goes to Alice’s apartment. They approach intimacy, but Charlie panics when he thinks about kissing Alice
~He has a flashback memory of his mother beating him brutally for having an erection
~Alice kisses Charlie, but he seizes with terror and cries himself to sleep

PROGRESS REPORT 12
~Charlie writes that his relationship with Nemur is growing increasingly strained, as Nemur continues to treat him more as a laboratory specimen than a human being
~Nemur is upset that Charlie has fallen behind on writing his progress reports
~Charlie argues that the reports are too time-consuming and that he does not have enough time to learn about the outside world if he has to engage in constant self-analysis
~Strauss suggests that Charlie learn to type, so he does.

~Charlie has nightmares for 3 nights after his panic in Alice’s apartment
~He has a recurring image of a bakery window and of his former mentally retarded self on the other side of the pane, watching him
~He remembers a childhood incident in which Norma, who had gotten an A on a test, asked their mother for a dog that she had promised if Norma did well in school
~Charlie had offered to help take care of the dog if their parents bought one for Norma, but Norma had demanded that the dog be hers alone
~Charlie and Norma’s father had declared that if Norma was going to be so selfish about it, there would be no dog, despite Rose’s promise
~Norma resentfully threatened to “forget” everything she knew and be a “dummy” like Charlie if her good work would not be rewarded
~Angrily, Charlie now wishes he could tell Norma that he never intended to hurt or annoy her, but that he only wanted her to like him and play with him

~Charlie goes to visit Alice in her classroom at the Center for Retarded Adults and sees many of the mentally disabled people with whom he had once attended the school
~Alice is upset that Charlie has come into the classroom and tells him that he is no longer the warm, open person she once knew, that he has grown cold and aggressive
~Charlie insists that he has merely learned to defend himself
~Alice replies that she now feels insecure around Charlie because of his clear intellectual superiority
~He drops Alice off at her apartment, feeling sad, angry, and very distant from her
~His love, he thinks, has cooled into fondness
~As his intelligence has skyrocketed, his affection for Alice has diminished

~Charlie picks up the habit of wandering through the streets of New York at night
~One night, he meets a strange and sad woman in Central Park who tells him about her problems and then offers to have sex with him
~Charlie almost goes home with the woman, until she reveals that she is pregnant
~Charlie flashes back to an image of his mother pregnant with his sister, which he associates with his mother beginning to give up on him and placing her hopes in Norma instead
~Cursing the woman in the park, Charlie grabs her shoulder. She screams, and a group of people runs toward them
~Charlie runs away, and he hears the woman tell the group that he tried to attack her
~Part of Charlie longs to be caught and beaten
~He wants to be punished, though he cannot say why or for what

PROGRESS REPORT 13
~Charlie begins dictating his progress reports to a tape recorder
~The first part of this report is recorded on a flight to Chicago, where Nemur and Strauss are scheduled to reveal their preliminary findings at a scientific convention
~Charlie and Algernon will be the star exhibits of the presentation
~As the plane takes off, Charlie is uncomfortable putting his seat belt on because he dislikes the feeling of confinement
~Trying to remember why, he flashes back to a time in childhood when his mother took him to a quack doctor named Guarino, who promised to increase Charlie’s intelligence to a normal level
~This visit took place before Norma was born, when Rose’s energies were still primarily focused on making Charlie normal
~Though Charlie’s father was skeptical, Rose insisted that Charlie go through with Guarino’s regimen, which included being strapped onto a table
~This claustrophobic procedure instilled in Charlie a fear of confinement
~Though Guarino was a crook and his process a sham, Charlie bears him no ill will—Guarino was always kind to him and never made him feel inferior for his disability
~Charlie also remembers that his father harbored bitterness about the expensive therapy sessions, as they forced him to continue working as a barbershop-supply salesman, postponing his longtime dream of opening his own barbershop
~By the time the plane lands, Charlie no longer feels uncomfortable in his seat belt

~At the hotel before the conference, Charlie meets many curious scientists and students who have heard about him
~They engage him on a wide variety of topics, and his vast range of knowledge enables him to discuss with ease everything from contemporary economic theory to obscure linguistics and mathematics
~When Charlie hears Nemur discussing the experiment with a student, he asks Nemur about an article recently published in the Hindu Journal of Psychopathology on related scientific matters
~Charlie is shocked to learn that Nemur did not read the article because he does not speak Hindi
~Charlie is further stunned to learn that Strauss does not speak Hindi either
~Strauss claims to speak six different languages, but that number is unimpressive to Charlie, who has learned more languages than that in just the past 2 months
~Charlie realizes that he now understands more about the experiment than Nemur and Strauss, and he storms away, angrily declaring that they are frauds
~Burt catches Charlie and urges him to be more tolerant of others’ shortcomings, especially since Nemur and Strauss have never claimed to be all-knowing
~Charlie understands that he has been impatient and realizes that his quest to take in all of the world’s knowledge is an impossible one

~Charlie sits on the stage during Nemur and Strauss’s presentation
~Listening to Burt deliver his paper about Algernon, Charlie learns that Algernon’s behavior grew erratic and self-destructive at the height of his intelligence
~Charlie is annoyed that this information has been withheld from him
~He also grows increasingly frustrated at hearing the scientists suggest that he was subhuman prior to their operation and feels like a debased carnival sideshow act
~Charlie privately toys with the idea of creating havoc in the convention by letting Algernon out of his cage

~During Nemur’s remarks, Charlie suddenly realizes that there is a scientific flaw in the experiment: Nemur and Strauss have miscalculated the amount of observation time necessary to determine whether or not Algernon’s increased intelligence will be permanent
~Charlie realizes that he may yet lose his intelligence
~Angry with Nemur now both for his patronizing attitude and for his lack of scientific thoroughness, Charlie succumbs to his urge to free Algernon from his cage
~As the mouse scampers away, the auditorium descends into chaos
~Charlie is able to catch Algernon, and he runs away from the conference with the mouse in his pocket
~He catches a flight back to New York, where he plans to find an apartment and hide from Strauss and Nemur for a while
~A new sense of urgency falls upon Charlie with the knowledge that his intelligence may desert him

PROGRESS REPORT 14
~Charlie sees a newspaper article that contains an interview with Norma, in which Norma insists she does not know Charlie’s whereabouts
~Charlie learns that his mother told Norma that he had been sent off to the Warren State Home, an institution for the mentally disabled, and had died there years ago
~Charlie also reads that his father now owns his own barbershop and no longer lives with his mother
~Charlie recalls that after Norma’s birth, Rose had stopped longing for him to become normal and had started wanting him to disappear

~Charlie moves into an apartment in the city
~He builds Algernon an elaborate maze to solve and meets his neighbor Fay Lillman, a free-spirited and flirtatious artist
~Fay is appalled by the neatness of Charlie’s apartment, saying she cannot stand straight lines and that she drinks to make the lines go blurry
~Charlie finds Fay strange but undeniably attractive.

~Charlie visits his father at his barbershop
~Matt does not recognize his son, and treats him as a customer
~Too nervous to say anything, Charlie gets a haircut
~He remembers the night that his father took him to live with his Uncle Herman after Rose had become hysterical, threatening that she would kill Charlie with a carving knife if he were not shipped out to the Warren State Home immediately
~Charlie attempts to reveal his identity to Matt, but after an awkward and inconclusive exchange, he gives up and leaves the shop

~Algernon performs well in Charlie’s new mazes but sometimes appears to be angry or depressed, frenetically throwing himself against the walls
~Fay buys Algernon a female companion mouse named Minnie
~Fay stays in Charlie’s apartment one night
~They have drinks together and Charlie passes out
~The next morning, naked in bed together, Fay says that they have not made love and wonders whether Charlie is gay
~She tells him that he acted like a little kid while he was drunk
~Charlie realizes that the old, mentally retarded Charlie has not left him and that his former self still exists within his mind

~Charlie spends a day in movie theaters and wandering the streets, just to be among other people
~He eats at the diner where he took Alice after their movie date
~A mentally disabled busboy accidentally breaks some dishes, and as he sweeps up the mess, the customers taunt him cruelly
~Not comprehending that he is the target of the customers’ mockery, the busboy smiles along with their insults
~Charlie is infuriated and screams to the crowd that the busboy is human and deserves respect

~Charlie visits Alice and talks over his feelings with her
~He worries that he has become emotionally detached from everyone around him, and he yearns to reconnect with humanity
~Charlie wonders if the inner, mentally retarded Charlie would allow him to make love to Alice if he pretended that she were Fay
~He hypothesizes that since he cares for Fay less deeply than he does for Alice, his inner self might not panic at the notion of sex with Fay
~Charlie turns out the lights and begins kissing Alice but is unable to trick himself into believing that she is Fay, and he feels guilty for trying to use her in an emotional experiment

~Charlie goes home and waits for Fay to return from dancing
~When she arrives, he is sexually aggressive
~They make love, and he senses the “other” Charlie watching them but not panicking
~Charlie and Fay begin an affair, and he soon loses the sense of the other Charlie’s surveillance
~Charlie decides to go back to the lab and take over research on the experiment
~One day Algernon attacks Minnie and bites Fay
~Charlie is concerned by Algernon’s hostility

PROGRESS REPORT 15
~The Welberg Foundation, which is paying for the experiment, agrees to allow Charlie to work at Beekman without having to report to Nemur
~Charlie returns to the lab, and Burt begins working with Algernon again
~He is disturbed to discover that Algernon’s problem-solving abilities seem to have regressed
~Charlie asks Nemur what contingency plans have been made for him if his own intelligence should not hold
~Nemur tells him that should he become retarded again, he will be sent to the Warren State Home
~Charlie decides that he needs to visit Warren to see what may await him
PROGRESS REPORT 16
~Charlie visits the Warren Home
~The staff makes a good impression on him, but the residents’ poor conditions and dim faces upset him, as he imagines that he will soon be among them
~Charlie is particularly distressed by an encounter with a friendly deaf-mute boy
~Charlie has difficulty mustering kindness in a moment when the boy seems to seek his approval

~Alice visits Charlie’s apartment one night, and Fay unexpectedly shows up
~To Charlie’s surprise, the two women get along favorably, and they all stay up late talking and drinking
~Alice tells Charlie that she understands why he is enamored with Fay’s lightheartedness and spontaneity but worries that Fay and her drinking habits are detrimental to Charlie’s important work
~Charlie makes love to Fay, thinking all along about Alice
~He immerses himself increasingly in his work, often sleeping at the lab
~Fay moves on to another boyfriend, but Charlie cannot be distracted, and he is exhilarated by the intensity of his own concentration
~Algernon’s condition continues to deteriorate, and Charlie knows that if he can figure out the cause, he will give the world knowledge that could be invaluable to future research

~Charlie attends a party in honor of the Welberg Foundation
~He overhears Strauss explaining to a foundation board member that even failed experiments are scientifically valuable, for they are often as educational as successes
~Somewhat drunk, Charlie starts to interject a rude comment, but Strauss cuts him off
~Charlie continues to alienate the guests, and when the party is over, Nemur accuses Charlie of being ungrateful for all that the operation has given him
~Charlie argues that he has little for which to be grateful, since he feels that the greatest lesson he has learned with his intelligence is that people scorn him whether he is a moron or a genius

~Nemur accuses Charlie of becoming cynical and self-centered
~In his drunken and emotional state, Charlie senses himself starting to act like the mentally retarded Charlie
~He hurries to the bathroom and looks in the mirror, and he feels that he is looking directly at the other Charlie
~He tells the other Charlie that they are enemies and that he will fight to keep the retarded Charlie from regaining control of his body
~He goes home miserable, deciding that Nemur’s accusations have been correct

~Charlie soon has a massive intellectual breakthrough and writes a paper on his findings
~In a letter to Nemur, he explains that he has uncovered a phenomenon he deems the “Algernon-Gordon Effect,” which argues that the more artificially induced intelligence one gains, the quicker it will deteriorate
~Charlie tries to reassure Nemur and Strauss, as well as a distraught Alice, that they could not have foreseen this effect and should not feel guilty
~Charlie senses that he is becoming absentminded, the first hint of the onset of his decline
~Algernon soon dies, and Charlie buries him in the backyard, putting flowers on the grave

~Charlie goes to see his mother
~Rose panics, and Charlie tries to win her trust, frantically telling her as much as he can about what has happened to him
~He quickly realizes that his mother is delusional: though at one moment she seems to understand that he is her son, the next she asks him if he is a bill collector
~Charlie patiently tries to explain his recent progress, telling Rose that he has fulfilled her dreams and become a success
~He gives her the paper he has written in an attempt to make her happy
~Rose is proud and feels vindicated.
~Norma, now an adult caring for Rose, arrives home
~To Charlie’s surprise, she is delighted to see him
~They have a long talk, and Norma apologizes for having been cruel to Charlie when they were children
~The peace is suddenly broken when Rose comes at Charlie with a knife, telling him to keep away from Norma with his sexual thoughts
~Charlie leaves in tears
~As he walks away, he looks back at the house and sees the face of his boyhood self peering through the window.

PROGRESS REPORT 17
~Charlie contemplates suicide but decides he must keep writing his reports for the sake of science
~At a therapy session with Strauss, Charlie has a hallucination in which he seems to fly into the center of his own unconscious, represented by a red, pulsing flower, and then imagines himself being battered against the walls of a cave
~When Burt tests Charlie on his ability to solve mazes in the lab, Charlie has difficulty and gets frustrated
~Charlie then finds himself perplexed by the Rorschach test
~He tells Burt that he will no longer come to the lab.

~Strauss tries to visit Charlie at his apartment, but Charlie refuses to let him in
~Charlie picks up his copy of Paradise Lost, and though he knows he loved the book only a few months before, he is now unable to understand it
~He flashes back to a time when his mother, frustratedly trying to teach him to read, had insisted to his father that Charlie was not retarded but merely lazy
~Charlie tears the copy of Paradise Lost apart

~Alice comes to stay with Charlie
~She says she wants to spend as much time as possible with him before the effects of the operation recede completely
~She holds him, and for once he does not feel the old inner panic
~They make love for the first time, and it is a transcendent, spiritual experience, unlike the purely physical sex Charlie has had with Fay
~Despite their happiness, Charlie cannot bear the thought of Alice witnessing his descent
~He tells Alice that he will probably ask her to leave soon, and he makes her promise that when she does leave, she will never come back

~Charlie picks up his paper on the Algernon-Gordon Effect and is unable to understand it
~He can no longer remember the languages he taught himself
~His motor control begins to deteriorate, and he finds himself watching television all day
~Alice tries to help by tidying up Charlie’s apartment, but her actions anger him because he wants everything left as it is, “to remind me of what I’m leaving behind.” Charlie also gets upset at Alice for trying to encourage him to pursue intellectual activities in which he is no longer interested
~Alice’s denial of Charlie’s condition reminds him of his mother
~He asks Alice to leave and, devastated, she does.

~Charlie wonders if he can stall his deterioration
~He knows that he cannot keep himself from forgetting things, but wonders if he can still learn and retain new things, thus maintaining a steady level of intelligence
~However, in his entry of November 1, Charlie’s punctuation is flawed, and soon he loses accuracy in grammar and spelling as well
~He describes voyeuristic-ally watching a woman bathing in the apartment across the courtyard
~Alice comes to see Charlie but he refuses to let her in

~Having regressed almost completely to his original state, Charlie returns to the Donner’s Bakery and gets his old job back
~He refuses to accept money from Alice and Strauss
~When a new employee named Meyer Klaus picks on Charlie and threatens to break his arm, Joe, Frank, and Gimpy come to Charlie’s rescue
~They tell him that he should come to them for help if anyone ever gives him trouble
~Charlie is grateful for his friends

~Charlie forgets that he is no longer enrolled in Alice’s class at the Center for Retarded Adults and shows up for one of the meetings
~When Alice sees Charlie has reverted entirely to his original state, she runs from the room weeping
~Charlie senses that people feel sorry for him, and he decides to go live at the Warren Home
~In his final note, he says that he is glad he got to be smart for a short time and that he got to learn about his family
~He has a vague memory of himself as a genius: “he looks different and he walks different but I dont think its me because its like I see him from the window.”
~He writes goodbye to Alice and Dr. Strauss, and advises Professor Nemur that he will have more friends if he does not get so upset when people laugh at him
~Finally, Charlie leaves a postscript requesting “please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard.”