Color Symbolism in Flowers for Algernon

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In Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, the colors green, blue and purple symbolically represent Charlie Gordon’s emotional state from his surgery to his admittance to Warren State Home. Each color represents a distinct point in his life, beginning with green after the operation, proceeding with blue as he reached the peak of his intelligence and ending with purple as he regressed. They blend together like a rainbow and form the arc that was his intelligent life. Green represents birth, life and innocence. It is the start of the arc. The operation that Charlie received gave him a new beginning. Because of the operation, he is given the opportunity to become someone else. Before, though he goes to classes three times a week, he has the reading skills of a beginner. Just a month after the surgery, Charlie can read Robinson Crusoe, his first “very hard book” (33). Because of the surgery he is exposed to spelling, punctuation and can finally retain information. This period of his life is full of curiosity and wonder, but innocence as well. He did not understand that the people at the bakery made fun of him. He was unaware of his sexual side. But this new life and innocence slowly fell apart. He realized at the party, people mean to him and he becomes aware of Alice’s beauty, something he had never noticed. As the bright green gave way, the arc grew taller and it faded to a darkening blue. As the story progresses, the child like experiences of the green period gave way to a serious and emotional blue. The arc of his intelligence was reaching its peak and his sanity was only so-so. He began having emotional troubles with Alice and troubles coming to terms with his scarring past. He is fired from his job at the bakery, his last tie to the innocence of green. As the blue grows darker his emotional problems grow into a depression like state. The scientists he met

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