Flowers for Algernon

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A young, attractive woman who lives in Charlie’s apartment building. Fay represents the exact opposite of the scientific establishment that “creates” Charlie: she’s casual, anti-intellectual, and intuitive. Although Charlie never feels love for Fay, he’s highly attracted to her, not least because she’s a welcome alternative to his academic pursuits. Fay recedes from view toward the end of the novel—when Charlie begins to lose his intelligence, she shuns him.

Fay Lillman Quotes in Flowers for Algernon

The Flowers for Algernon quotes below are all either spoken by Fay Lillman or refer to Fay Lillman . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harcourt edition of Flowers for Algernon published in 1994.
Progress Report 14 Quotes

Then, with a violent effort of the will, I was back on the couch with her, aware of her body and my own urgency and potency, and I saw the face against the window, hungrily watching. And I thought to myself, go ahead, you poor bastard—watch. I don't give a damn any more. And his eyes went wide as he watched.

Related Characters: Charlie Gordon (speaker), Fay Lillman
Related Symbols: Charlie’s Hallucinations (younger Charlie)
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:

As Charlie becomes more intelligent and self-aware, he begins to hallucinate a young boy--the childhood version of Charlie himself. This young version of Charlie "watches" Charlie almost constantly, but especially when Charlie is engaging in behavior that he couldn't have managed when he was mentally disabled. In this scene, Charlie is about to have sexual intercourse with Fay Lillman, his neighbor. Although Charlie feels "young Charlie" watching him, he decides that he doesn't care--he continues having sex, daring his young self to do anything about it.

The presence of "young Charlie" in Charlie's mind suggests that he's still haunted by his past--the years during which he was humiliated and teased for his disability. As Charlie becomes more mature and experienced, he comes to resent young Charlie--he hates that there was ever a time in his life when he had a low IQ and feared his own sexuality. Here, Charlie seems to make peace with his troubled past (he no longer cares), and yet he also clearly hates his former self.

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Fay Lillman Character Timeline in Flowers for Algernon

The timeline below shows where the character Fay Lillman appears in Flowers for Algernon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Progress Report 14
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
June 19. Charlie meets his neighbor, a woman named Fay Lillman, when he accidentally locks himself out of his apartment. Fay lets Charlie into her... (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Fay lets Charlie into his apartment via the fire escape. Charlie lets Fay into his place,... (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...teaching Algernon how to navigate through mazes. Algernon solves every maze he’s given. One evening, Fay comes to Charlie’s apartment with a female mouse named Minnie—a companion for Algernon. Charlie finds... (full context)
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
June 23. Late one night, Charlie hears a knock on his door—it’s Fay, accompanied by a dancer named Leroy. Fay invites Charlie over for a drink, but neither... (full context)
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Later that night, Fay stops by Charlie’s apartment again, saying that she’s sent Leroy home after he tried to... (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
The next morning, Charlie wakes up lying next to Fay, who says that he acted odd last night—they didn’t have sex, but he said that... (full context)
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...way to perform with Alice. He turns off the lights and imagines that Alice is Fay, the one woman who doesn’t provoke feelings of anxiety. Charlie imagines himself kissing Fay’s body,... (full context)
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...buys a bottle of gin, and then goes back to his apartment. He knocks on Fay’s door, but finds that she isn’t there. (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
A short while later, Fay returns to her apartment, and Charlie comes to see her. He immediately wraps himself around... (full context)
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
June 30. Charlie gives Fay the keys to his place. He enjoys spending time with her, and makes love to... (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
July 5. Charlie finishes a piano concerto he’s been working on, and dedicates it to Fay. While Charlie doesn’t think much of Fay’s aesthetic tastes, he’s impressed by Fay’s openness and... (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...has too much to drink, and in his drunkenness he behaves like the “old Charlie.” Fay is confused by Charlie’s behavior, but finds it funny. Charlie also notes that Algernon’s behavior... (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
July 9. Algernon bites Fay while Fay is trying to play with him. Shortly afterwards, Charlie finds that Algernon has... (full context)
Progress Report 15
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Charlie devotes all his attention to studying Algernon’s mental deterioration. He doesn’t contact Fay for fear that Fay would run into Alice. He also plans to visit the Warren... (full context)
Progress Report 16
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Cruelty and Bullying Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...erratic and frustrating to work with. To relax himself, Charlie drinks and goes dancing with Fay. He becomes irritated with Fay for showing no interest in his research. Fay is only... (full context)
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Cruelty and Bullying Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...his apartment—Burt has told her about Algernon’s mental deterioration. While Alice is at Charlie’s apartment, Fay comes by, carrying a bottle of alcohol. To Charlie’s surprise, Fay and Alice get along... (full context)
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...downstairs with Alice to hail a cab for her. Alice tells Charlie that she likes Fay. Charlie insists that he doesn’t love Fay—Alice is the only woman he’s ever loved. Charlie... (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
July 28. Charlie learns that Fay has a new boyfriend, but he isn’t hurt—in fact, he’s relieved. He continues working hard... (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...grateful for “clearing the way” for future researchers in this subject. Charlie also mentions that Fay’s new boyfriend works as a dance instructor. (full context)
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Charlie goes to his apartment. He considers knocking on Fay’s door, but he hears a man’s laugh, and decides that he’s too late. At 4:30... (full context)
Progress Report 17
Ignorance, Intelligence, and Happiness Theme Icon
Pride, Hubris, and the Tragic Hero Theme Icon
Charlie sees Fay in his apartment building, but she avoids Charlie as much as possible—she seems frightened of... (full context)
Intelligence vs. Wisdom and Morality Theme Icon
...on Algernon’s grave, even though Mrs. Mooney finds this silly. Finally, Charlie tries to visit Fay, but she tells him to leave her alone. (full context)