Is Charlie Gordon Truly A Hero?
Christopher Reeve an American actor once said: "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." That sounds like Charlie Gordon the protagonist from the novella "Flowers For Algernon" by Daniel Keyes. Charlie Gordon is a hero because he possesses heroic qualities such as courage and perseverance.
Charlie Gordon demonstrates heroic quality courage, by doing the operation and by going back to his old job. Charlie was feeble-minded and always wanted to be smart, so when he was given the opportunity for surgery to become smart he took it. "That's why I said OK even though I was scared" (Keyes 516). Clearly states that charlie was scared, but he still went through with it and said ok. This shows the heroic quality courage implying that Charlie is a hero. Also, When Charlie goes to ask for his old job back where he got teased and bullied his boss said: "Charlie Gordon you got guts" (Keyes 536). "Guts" is a slang term for courage implying that charlie's got courage. He has courage because after being bullied and taken advantage of him and he still goes back and asks for his job. That sounds like a hero. Charlie Gordon has the heroic quality courage because he took an operation even though he was scared and he went back to ask for his job.
When Charlie's intelligence started to decline, he demonstrated, perseverance by fighting the condition and that is a heroic act. A month after Charlie took the operation his intelligence began to crumble causing him to persevere. "I won't let it happen, I'll fight it" ( Keyes 534). Charlie is implying that he will fight it in other words, he is saying he will persevere it. Perseverance is a heroic quality and Charlie seems to have that. Even though Charlie's intelligence starts to decline, he still persists. "That's why I am going to keep trying to be smart, so I can have that feeling again" (Keyes 538). This states that Charlie is not going to give up until he is smart again. This shows the heroic quality of perseverance, making Charlie a hero. Charlie has the perseverance that is a quality of a hero, therefore, Charlie is a hero too.
Others believe that Charlie is not a hero because his goal is to be smart and that is a selfish goal that does not benefit society. When Charlie was called in for the operation, he was told to race against a mouse, but when the mouse beats him Charlie made a goal to be smarter than that mouse. "I'll show that mouse that I can be as smart as he is or smarter. Then I'll be able to read and spell words good like smart people" (Keyes 518). This shows that Charlie's goal is to beat Algernon and to be smarter than him. That is a selfish goal that does not benefit the world. A hero would have a goal that would benefit the world and Charlie does not. Therefore Charlie is, not a hero. While that is true, Charlie uses his intelligence to do unselfish acts that benefit the world. Once Charlie becomes really smart he starts to research his operation and its effects. " yet for the sake of science, I am grateful for the very little knowledge of the human mind and the laws of governing the artificial increase of human allegiance" (Keyes 532). Charlie used his intelligence to gather information about the human and contributed to science for the rest of the world. That is a selfless act that benefits the world and that is a heroic act. concluding that Charlie is a hero.
Charlie someone who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles, by taking the operation even though he was scared. When his intelligence started to regress, he persevered and tried to fight it. He is a hero for contributing to the world, telling them the effects of the operation. Those are the 3 qualities of hero courage, perseverance, and selfless acts. Charlie demonstrated all of these acts, making Charlie Gordon a hero.
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