Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon Summary and Analysis of Progress Report 4


Charlie is asked to take the Thematic Apperception Test, in which he comes up with narratives for pictures. He is afraid he has failed this test too. Burt, a graduate student who administered the Rorschach test as well, takes Charlie to a room where he shows him maze constructions. He shows him a white mouse called Algernon who can run these mazes quickly. He asks if Charlie would like to race against Algernon, and when Charlie agrees, gives him an electric stylus with which to follow the same maze. Algernon beats Charlie all ten times they perform the race, and Charlie marvels that mice can be so smart.


This entry takes place on March 6. This entry introduces readers to the eponymous character, who is actually a mouse. “Algernon” is a French male name which literally means “whiskered.” In this entry, Charlie is basically a lab animal, as he performs the same tasks as his animal counterpart. (Algernon, it is soon revealed, is the lab animal that was given the operation just before Charlie. He is able to perform the mazes quickly because of his artificially increased intelligence.)