Flowers For Algernon
Alice Walker
Contributed by Jennefer Ruano
Chapter 9

The entries for this report open with April 1st. On this day, a bakery worker who mixes the dough has quit, and Frank and Joe suggest that Charlie take over the job. The joke, however, backfires as Charlie demonstrates that he can actually mix the dough better than the original worker. Mr. Donner, owner of the bakery, promotes Charlie, which angers Frank and Joe.

Charlie learns about punctuation and grammar, and his writing makes a marked improvement. He is reading more and even starts learning geography and mathematics. He has developed a solid memory, and his IQ has improved to about 100.

Charlie recalls memories of his mother, the birth of his sister, and an incident when his mother feared that he would harm his sister. He cannot, however, remember the details of the event.

Charlie attends a party with his co-workers, where he is forced to dance with a woman as the group makes fun of him. His dance stirs some odd feelings about the opposite sex within him. Charlie becomes deeply troubled as he realizes that his so-called friends have been making fun of him. He understands that they have not been laughing with him, but at him. For the first time he feels ashamed of himself. That evening he has a "wet dream" of the girl at the party.

Charlie recalls a painful memory from his youth, where he was teased and taken advantage of by some older boys. He has a complex nightmare about his intelligence, and he is suddenly afraid of losing his new-found abilities.

Later Charlie dreams that Miss Kinnian becomes offended by some of the words he has used in his progress reports. After free-associating about the dream, he recalls an incident when he was eleven years old, involving a young woman who never teased him. In the dream, it’s Valentine’s Day, and Charlie decides to give a Valentine to the girl. He plans on giving her a locket he found, and he asks a fellow student to write a note to her for him. The fellow student writes a distasteful note. Charlie follows the girl home, and she takes the note and present. The next day at school the girl’s older brothers confront Charlie and accuse him of writing a dirty note to their sister. They brutally beat him.

This report ends with Charlie taking another Rorschach test. He becomes extremely angry and vents his emotions on Burt Selden, believing that Burt and Nemur have been making fun of him. For the first time, Charlie expresses violent anger and suspicion. Charlie remarks that his journal entries are becoming more difficult to write because he is aware that others are reading them.


Though Charlie is becoming more intellectually sophisticated, certain emotional issues are beginning to arise. A deeper sense of self-awareness has definitely blossomed in him, as is evident in his anger at others and his suspicion directed at those he imagines are making fun of him. His dreams suggest that he might have been emotionally stunted by the events of his youth. Finally, the odd feelings stirred by his dance with the woman at the party, combined with his wet dream, make it clear that he is beginning to develop as a sexual being.

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