I enjoyed reading Flowers for Algernon. I’ve copied out my favourite quotations from the book below. It’s funny how only a few lines can capture the sentiment of an entire novel, but those sentences would be meaningless without the unquoted others.
If your smart you can have lots of friends to talk to and you never get lonley by yourself all the time.
Now I understand one of the important reasons for going to college and getting an education is to learn that the things you’ve believed in all your life aren’t true, and that nothing is what it appears to be.
“Charlie, you amaze me. In some ways you’re so advanced, and yet when it comes to making a decision, you’re still a child. I can’t decide for you, Charlie. The answer can’t be found in books—or be solved by bringing it to other people. Not unless you want to remain a child all your life. You’ve got to find the answer inside you—feel the right thing to do. Charlie, you’ve got to learn to trust yourself.”
Solitude gives me a chance to read and think, and now that the memories are coming through again—to rediscover my past, to find out who and what I really am. If anything should go wrong, I’ll have at least that.
I could see he was upset about the idea of my visiting Warren. As if I were ordering my coffin, to sit in before I died. But then, I can’t blame him because he doesn’t realize that finding out who I really am—the meaning of my total existence involves knowing the possibilities of my future as well as my past, where I’m going as well as where I’ve been. Although we know the end of the maze holds death (and it is something I have not always known—not long ago the adolescent in me thought death could happen only to other people), I see now that the path I choose through that maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being—one of many ways—and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming.
“Don’t misunderstand me,” I said. “Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I’ve discovered for myself very recently. I present it to you as a hypothesis: Intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centred end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.
And after it’s all over I’m sick with myself because there is so little time left for me to read and write and think, and because I should know better than to drug my mind with this dishonest stuff that’s aimed at the child in me. Especially me, because the child in me is reclaiming my mind.