Flowers for Algernon Discussion Questions

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

Teachers, 'Flowers for Algernon' teaches students about friendship, death and love. Use this lesson to probe student's comprehension of the events and characters of the book while enhancing their critical thinking and literary analysis skills.

Character Analysis Questions

  • How would you describe Charlie? Use at least five adjectives. What factors alert you to his mental disability? Do you think the country where you reside cares for the mentally ill properly?
  • Due to Charlie's disability, many people take advantage of him. Who do you think is the worst offender? Why? How would you propose to protect the mentally ill in your community?
  • Describe Algernon and Charlie's relationship. What do they have in common? How are they different? What benefits does Charlie receive from being friends with Algernon? Do you think Charlie is actually interacting with a mouse in real life or is he a fictional character in Charlie's mind? Use specific quotes from the book to support your answer.
  • Describe what Charlie's life would be like without the encouragement and support form Algernon. Do you have an inspirational person in your life? If so, describe how they encourage you. If not, explain how such a person would provide positivity.
  • Identify Charlie's love interests in the story line. Are their relationships reciprocal? Explain. Who do you believe really loved Charlie? Why
  • What type of relationship does Charlie have with his mom before their meeting toward the end of the book? What concerns him about his mom? Does their encounter end well? Explain. If Charlie's mom was more stable, how could she have helped him?
  • What happened to Algernon that Charlie fears will occur in him? What ritual does Charlie perform to honor Algernon?
  • Some believe in the importance of putting flowers on the graves of the deceased. Discuss the therapeutic benefits of doing this for the living.
  • What eventually happened to Charlie? Do you think some people act out of character if they know they are going to die? Explain.

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