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The concept of a “hero” can range greatly according to your mindset: for some, veterans defending their land may be heroes, while for others, ordinary civilians supporting and rescuing people. However, can a person who survived a life-threatening surgery embody the qualities of a hero? In Daniel Keyes’s short story Flowers for Algernon, the protagonist Charlie Gordon, a thirty-seven-year-old man with an IQ of sixty-eight, agrees to a risky surgery to increase his IQ. After the procedure, when Charlie recognizes the consequences, he will soon experience, he develops feelings of remorse and suicidal thoughts. Charlie Gordon displays heroic attributes because he saw his destiny through Algernon and decided to embrace his fate. Furthermore, Charlie is bold enough to reject his background and begin anew in a distinct environment so that he is not pitied by others.
The disclosure of Charlie Gordon’s heroic qualities in the work
For illustration, Charlie Gordon is involved in an operation that he does not completely grasp, and afterwards he has thoughts of suicide, but the man has the guts not to give up. Charlie’s emotions are highly distressing, but even then he struggles to deal with them and recognizes that it is extremely challenging. Instead of breaking down in tears, Charlie Gordon recollects how his involvement in the operation will benefit others like him in the future. After the consequences of the surgery have fully passed, the man is not depressed, instead he is thankful for what he went through during his moment of the epiphany, even if it was for a brief glimpse. While Charlie is feeling all the anguish and distress, he still expresses gratitude for what he still has, regardless of how much of it is left. Rather than dwelling on what he has lost, Charlie focuses on how he will progress based on his earlier experiences. Charlie Gordon is an extremely generous and deeply reflective person, and there is not a drop of negativity in him.
Charlie is heroic because he is bold enough to begin again in a strange setting where people may mock and offend him, only to have everyone he meets express no compassion for his situation. Charlie is incredibly sensitive to other people’s feelings, and he doesn’t wish for them to be pitied or blamed for his condition. He loves and cherishes all the people from his background and is prepared to make sacrifices for the new world so that they don’t have to regret anything. Charlie additionally understands how to defend himself from abusers when they hurt him; he accomplishes this without mistreating them, as shown in his progress notes. “I told myself Charlie if they make fun of you don’t get sore because you remember their not so smart as you once thot they were once your friends and if they laughed at you that doesn’t mean anything because they liked you too”. In this case, Charlie is convincing himself that he doesn’t have to retaliate when his friends offend him. This kind of mentality reveals how reflective Charlie is. Instead of directly assaulting his perpetrators, he builds his own strength and confidence.
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People might claim that Charlie Gordon is a scatterbrained person who occasionally did some work for scientific purposes, and they might even label Charlie a coward for escaping from his former life. He had no idea what he was involved in until his IQ tripled after the surgery. If Charlie Gordon had been aware of the dangers and consequences of the surgery before the doctors conducted it, he would never have agreed to it. Charlie Gordon gradually conceives what he has become involved in and is unable to confront what is about to befall him. In order to possess heroic attributes, you have to recognize what you are putting at risk, what you are victimizing, and for whom, so you can truly have the courage and bravery of a hero.
While this method of analysis makes sense, it is not a comprehensive one. The very same arguments can speak in favor of the completely conflicting position if you take into account all the aspects. Although Charlie may not completely comprehend the operation, he adjusts to the circumstances he is in subsequently and endures the difficulties. Charlie Gordon says that he is not able to come to terms with this, but in the end, he persists in his research to support other mentally disabled people such as himself. Regardless of his state, Charlie keeps on caring about everybody who surrounds him, even those who make fun of him. Charlie Gordon is a representative of heroic traits because he maintains the determination to adjust and improve any given situation, regardless of how complicated it may be. He may experience suicidal feelings and discouragement because of his surgery, but he still pursues his research to discover ways to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Charlie, in addition, displays the bravery to deny his background so that his peers do not sympathize with his mental and emotional condition.
As a result, Charlie is definitely not a conventional character. It’s apparent that he doesn’t have any superhuman power or extraordinary skills, but he definitely takes care of people. He is attentive and considerate of people’s well-being, and this is what defines Charlie as a genuine hero. Charlie Gordon was a hero in the same way we all are when we do something cheerful for each other. Each individual, from kids to grown-ups, even those with low intellectual capacity, can do so many things for so many people, even if it’s something ordinary like being generous that can transform someone’s perspective on the world.