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What Point of View Is the Story "Flowers for Algernon" Written In?


“Flowers for Algernon” is a book of extremes, illustrating how experimental surgery transforms a man with a developmental disability into someone with extraordinary intelligence. His subsequent deterioration is even more poignant because the subject of the trial, Charlie, narrates the story through journal entries.

Consider the Source

"Flowers for Algernon" is told from the first-person point of view, which means the narrator is part of the story and uses pronouns such as “I” and “me.” It is a subjective or limited viewpoint, because Charlie explains the world as he sees it. He has no special insight into what other characters are thinking or what happens when he is not around.

The Unknown

The subjective first-person point of view extends throughout the novel. For example, at the start of the experiment, Burt, a graduate student, gives Charlie the Rorschach inkblot test. Charlie describes his discomfort with the situation. He can report Burt's words and actions but can only guess what the student is thinking: “I dint know what he was gonna do and I was holding on tite to the chair like sometimes when I go to a dentist onley Burt aint no dentist neither but he kept telling me to rilax and that gets me skared because it always means its gonna hert.”

About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

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