Flowers For Algernon: Novel Summary: Progress Report 10

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Charlie has made an improvement on the dough mixer at Donner's bakery that will help to speed up production. He comments that people seem to be frightened by the changes taking place in him. He recounts an experience at the bakery, where Frank tries to teach him to make rolls, but he recalls the experience in third person, referring to himself not as "I" but as "Charlie." Charlie can follow along with Frank, but he cannot perform the process on his own because he can't remember all of the steps. Mr. Donner arranges for Charlie to join the baker's union, but Charlie feels that his co-workers are starting to feel hostile toward him.

 
Charlie asks Alice Kinnian to a movie.
 
Charlie has an unpleasant experience at the psychology lab brought on by a fight between Nemur and Strauss. He overhears Nemur and Strauss debating whether to go public with the experiment at a scientific convention. Charlie records the exchange as if it were lines of dialog in a play. As he reflects on the events, he comes to understand that they are in many ways just ordinary men. Charlie begins to feel that he is a part of the university setting. He enjoys hanging out at the college and listening to the students' intellectual conversations; he also starts to use metaphors to express himself. To him the great thinkers like Freud and Plato "echo like great church bells in my mind." He makes friends with some college students and starts to ponder deep philosophical points, such as the existence of God. He develops an insatiable thirst for knowledge and spends most of his spare time at the library.
 
Charlie has a dream in which his mother argues with his father that he is capable of learning and of succeeding in a normal school. In the dream Charlie is so traumatized by his parents' argument that he wets himself.
 
Analysis
Charlie's personality is beginning to divide into two distinct individuals: the old unintelligent Charlie and the new intelligent Charlie. Asking Miss Kinnian to a movie represents a clear step in Charlie's emotional and sexual growth; he has reached an adolescent or pubescent level in these areas. Charlie's realization that Strauss and Nemur are not mental giants but ordinary men suggests that his intellect is approaching theirs. His interest in spending time with other college students shows a deeper integration into a community; his former isolation from the world is starting to disappear.

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