Study Guide

Flowers for Algernon Manipulation

By Daniel Keyes

Manipulation

Prof Nemur skratched his head and rubbd his nose and said maybe your rite. We will use Charlie. But weve got to make him understand that a lot of things can go wrong with the experamint. (5.10)

We find it a little sketchy that Nemur just happens to decide to use Charlie while he's still in the room. And really, he's going to make Charlie understand the full consequences of the operation?

I dont reely understand why I got to keep it a seecrit. Burt says its in case theirs a faleure Prof Nemur dont want everybody to laff espeshully the pepul from the Welburg foundashun who gave him the money for the project. (8.20)

Okay, so Burt gives it to Charlie straight. But are there any other reasons why Nemur might want to keep the experiment a secret?

Pictures! Hidden in the inkblots! Last time you told me that everyone could see them and you wanted me to find them too. (9.56)

Burt seems to be sincere, but Charlie starts to get suspicious that someone is manipulating him. And he just might be right.

Now, I'm allowed to keep back some of these more personal reports, but before the final report to the Welberg Foundation, Professor Nemur will read through everything to decide what part of it should be published. (10.67)

Hold up, what version of Charlie's story are we reading? Did Professor Nemur ever get his hands on it? He'd probably just write more stuff about being the greatest professor in the world, but it does make us wonder.

"It's a lie," I explained as we walked out into the lobby. "Things just don't happen that way." (11.77)

Charlie is one jaded guy, but even we know that movie romance can be unrealistic. Still, Charlie seems pretty insistent. Why is a happy love story a lie?

"In fact," I said, "now that I think of it, I believe I've already decided some of it! I think Nemur and Strauss are both wrong!" (11.91)

Light bulb moment—Charlie's learning to trust himself, but that means he starts distrusting other people.

You take liberties with other people's minds. You can't tell how I feel or what I feel or why I feel. (12.126)

It's about time Charlie got a good talking-to from Alice. Maybe he doesn't realize it, but he twists her words around to manipulate her emotions, like a used-car salesman after a couple cans of Red Bull.

Letting Algernon out of his cage would throw the meeting into chaos, and after all this was Burt's debut into the rat-race of academic preferment. (13.157)

Wow—Charlie can be downright nasty. But then again, he's just repaying the favor to the original manipulators, Nemur and Strauss. Why would he involve Burt, though?

It has to do with Charlie. For some reason, he won't let me make love to you. (14.205)

Way to redeem our faith in humanity, Charlie. He tries to make love to Alice by pretending she's Fay, but ultimately feels it's wrong. Does this count as manipulation?

I'm through running the maze. I'm not a guinea pig anymore. (17.288)

That maze might be humiliating for Charlie, but we'd probably do it for a chocolate bar. Charlie says he's not a guinea pig, but he still writes in the journal Strauss and Nemur tell him to keep… so is he still letting himself be manipulated?