One experiment was done on a mentally retarded person to try to raise his intelligence. The experiment worked, but after months, he came back to the state he orginally was at. In the book, Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes, this intelligence operation was done, and the patient was Charlie Gordon. After the operation, Charlie was very bright, but experienced loneliness, and physcological distress. Charlie was emotionaly upset because of his flashbacks from childhood, and because his intellegence grew faster then his emotional intellegence. After his operation, he slowly started getting flashbacks from different parts of his childhood. In many of them his mother would go off and start saying, “…He’s normal! He’s normal! He’ll grow up like other people. Better than others.” Charlie had dreams of how his mother was ashamed of him. His mother always thought her son was normal and would grow up and be somebody. Charlie’s sister also ignored him. To her, Charlie was dumb and could not do anything. Charlie had dreams of his sister yelling at him and making fun of him. He also had memories of the night his parents took him to the Warren Home. He was terrified and his dad would never answer his questions. Charlie remembered his childhood and through his memories, he felt guilty for hurting his family.
After the operation, in the bakery, he used to have friends. Friends that would talk to him and care about him. Charlie then realized that he had no friends but merely knew people that made fun of him. The bakery employees just liked him because they could blame their mistakes on Charlie. Then, they could not do this after the operation, so they all turned against Charlie. Charlie also found out about Nemur and Strauss, the men who preformed the operation. He realized they were not professionals, but two men that were taking a shot in the dark. Charlie felt like an expendable lab specimen. Thus, Charlie had lost his friends and knew now he was just a like a lab rat.
He was starting to regress and thought about suicide to end his up and down life. He became irritable and edgy around people at the university. He would become mad at people very quickly and then yell at them. People stayed away from him because he was becoming a madman and was unpredictable.
Breakfast of Champions: Plague of Unhappiness
Breakfast of Champions: Plague of Unhappiness
“The motto of Dwayne Hoover’s and Kilgore Trout’s nation E pluribus unum, Out of Many One” (9). Out of many characters the narrator chooses one, Kilgore Trout, to achieve success. He and Dwayne Hoover are main characters in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Breakfast of Champions (1973). This book is a microcosm of modern American society. Every character symbolizes a different part of the society. The main characters, Dwayne and Kilgore, are symbols; Dwayne representing the successful family man and business person, and Kilgore representing the lonely and unsuccessful people of the world. This novel reveals the misconception people have concerning the relationships between being wealthy and successful and being happy.
“We never discussed what kind of funeral you wanted,” (18) said Kilgore Trout to his pet parakeet, and only friend. Kilgore was born in Bermuda. When he was young, he worked with his father trying to save the endangered Bermuda Erns. When an Ern would die, Kilgore had the gruesome task of measuring the dead birds wingspan. He seemed doomed from childhood. “The pessimism that overwhelmed him in later life very likely had its roots in the bittersweet mulch of rotting Erns” (31). This pessimism destroys every human relationship Kilgore Trout has. For this reason, Kilgore is a lonely middle-aged man expecting nothing more from his life than to die alone. The only way he outwardly expresses himself is through writing science fiction novels and short stories.
One man has taken interest in Kilgore’s writing. His name is Mr. Rosewater, a very rich man who earned his riches by running coal mines in the mountains of West Virginia. In his eyes Kilgore Trout is a genius. Rosewater funds an extensive search to find Kilgore’s address. Once he has the address, he sends Kilgore a fan letter. Kilgore perceives this letter as an invasion of his privacy. Rosewater insists he is not intruding and promises to make Kilgore famous. Trout says, “Keep the hell out of my body bag” (33). Rosewater uses his influences to get Kilgore invited to an art show in Midland City. At this art festival, Kilgore will be one of the main speakers. Kilgore, with no intentions of going at first, says, “I’m not going. I don’t want out of my cage” (36). The same pessimism that is causing him to live a lonely, unfulfilled life is also the reason he decides to go the art festival.