March 5. Charlie goes in for more tests with Nemur and Strauss. He looks at pictures, and tries to explain what’s happening in the pictures. Charlie remembers his Uncle Herman, the man who raised him. It was Herman who got Charlie the job at the bakery before he died. Charlie finds it hard to work through the pictorial tests, and the nurse who shows him the pictures becomes irritated.
Charlie has some memories of the past, but not many. He can barely remember his mother and sister, much less his uncle. Charlie essentially lives in a state of blissful ignorance—he has no guilt or fear of his family, because he doesn’t remember anything about his family.
Charlie meets with Burt Selden again (this time, Charlie remembers his last name), and performs other tests. He has to compete against a mouse named Algernon. Amazingly, Algernon is better than Charlie at solving mazes. Charlie didn’t realize a mouse could be so smart.
Keyes immediately associates Charlie with Algernon. Algernon may just be a mouse with no personality or voice (at least in the novel) of his own, but he and Charlie are both on the same level: test subjects for Nemur’s experiments. In this sense, Algernon’s life symbolizes and in some ways anticipates Charlie’s own experiences.