Charlie's Emotional Maturity In 'Flowers Of Algernon'

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Intelligence and emotional maturity are not always compatible as made clear in the novel Flowers of Algernon. I will proof that the character of Charlie Gordon is not able to function in a harmonious relationship without conflict by referring to Charlie’s sexual maturity as a young boy and his supposedly intellectual relationship with Alice Kinnian. Charlie Gordon is a retarded man who records his thoughts in "progress reports" as he undergoes an operation to greater his intellect (Cline, 2012:1760). In the novel, it is irrefutable that as Charlie becomes more intelligent his emotional maturity does not progress at the same level as his intelligence grows. This causes major conflict within Charlie as a person and his ability to coexist to some extent in a romantic relationship. Charlie’s inability to mature emotionally is a direct cause to the abuse suffered as a young developing boy by the hands of Rose, his mother. Rose declared in a state of denial not being able to accept her son as being mentally disabled. As young Charlie progresses towards…show more content…
At the start of the progress reports Alice is Charlie’s teacher at the Beekman College Centre for Retarded Adults. Alice is also the one who recommended Charlie for the experiment. Charlie and Alice’s relationship changes as Charlie’s intelligence grows. Both experiences strong romantic emotions towards one another, but Charlie fears intimacy with Alice. In a sense Charlie is still a young boy trying to find his sexual maturity. The result is that every time the atmosphere turns intimate Charlie sees retarded Charlie starring at them through a window. According to Progress Report 11 Charlie says, “Dr Strauss feels that emotionally I’m still in that adolescent state where being close to a woman, or thinking of sex, sets off anxiety, panic, even hallucinations” (Keyes,

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