Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Flowers for Algernon

Go To

WARNING: Spoilers are off on Tear Jerker pages.

  • The final line.
    p.p.s. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in thebak yard.
  • The analogy about the keyhole... It's not fair.
    I have often reread my progress reports and seen the illiteracy, the childish naiveté, the mind of low intelligence peering from a dark room, through a keyhole, at the dazzling light outside. I see that even in my dullness that I knew I was inferior, and that other people had something I lacked - something denied me. In my mental blindness, I thought it was somehow connected to the ability to read and write, and I was sure that if I could get those skills I would automatically have intelligence too.

    Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men.
  • Charlie's Oct. 7th entry near the end (June 15th in the short story):
    I've got to try to hold onto some of the things I've learned. Please, God, don't take it all away.
    • And then later his Nov. 16th entry (July 25th in the short story):
    Please... please... dont let me forget how to reed and rite...
  • The exact moment when Charlie's writing shows his decline, and he realizes what is happening to him reduces him to tears. Ditto for every time he mentions his coworkers in a positive light.
  • Pretty much every memory from Charlie's childhood.
  • The ending. When a character, regardless of their track record, does something inherently wrong, he or she should be punished accordingly. Charlie, who'd been basically slapped around like a bitch for the entire novel, lost the intelligence he'd wanted so badly, and was on his way to the mental institution he swore he'd never go to. The real kick in the balls is he did nothing to deserve this. He was a mentally challenged man who yearned to be "normal", and apparently that was too much to ask. Apparently that justified putting him through hell.
  • Given that Algernon died, you know what's likely to happen to Charlie himself...
  • Near the ending, when Charlie says "holy smoke I reely pulled a Charlie Gordon that time" when he accidentally goes back to Miss Kinnian's class (upsetting her greatly). When he was intelligent, he despised his coworkers after discovering what the expression "pulling a Charlie Gordon" meant, and it's almost unbearable to see he's regressed so much that he's using that expression himself.
  • One edition was specially written to look as if the Progress Reports were actually handwritten by Charlie. The chicken scratch from the start of the book slowly improved as the story progressed, and Charlie's spelling also improved as well. But take a look at the end and the last sentence.
    "p.p.s. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in thebakyard..."
    • At the end of the sentence, a long, messy line trails off of the "D" and moves off of the page, indicating that Charlie died while he was writing his last request, which was for someone to simply remember the pet mouse who was the only thing that he could relate to. However, on other copies of the book, extra pages after this request are deliberately left blank, leaving open the possibility that Charlie may have regressed to the point of extreme illiteracy instead of death.
  • Charlie's mother named his normal baby sister Norma.
    • His mother treatment of him as a whole, virtually the treatment of him from many throughout his life, but his mother probably especially. She verbally abuses her own son, even threatening hints of physical abuse, pulls out a knife when she thinks he is committing an act of incest towards his sister. She threatens to cage him for his sexual urges, and it is implied by his dialogue that she hides him away when company comes. His father, thankfully, is much kinder towards him, but since the mother is the much dominant of the family, he submissively abides by her wishes to take him away.