Flowers for Algernon


Daniel Keyes

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Flowers for Algernon makes teaching easy.

Flowers for Algernon Characters

Charlie Gordon

The protagonist and narrator of Flowers for Algernon, Charlie Gordon starts out as a kindhearted, mentally challenged man in his early 30s, who is then given an incredible chance to become a genius when… read analysis of Charlie Gordon

Alice Kinnian

A young, beautiful woman who works as a teacher for mentally challenged adults, and is instrumental in choosing Charlie Gordon as the subject of Professor Nemur’s brain surgery. Alice is intelligent but also kind—a… read analysis of Alice Kinnian


Algernon is a mouse that becomes extremely intelligent after Professor Nemur performs experimental brain surgery on it. Algernon is the first animal to have its IQ artificially increased, just as Charlie is the first human… read analysis of Algernon

Professor Harold Nemur

A talented but decidedly non-brilliant scientist, who pioneers an experimental brain surgery technique that allows patients to experience huge increases in IQ. Nemur is arrogant, egocentric, and jealous—the very embodiment of the limits of intelligence… read analysis of Professor Harold Nemur

Doctor Strauss

A surgeon and therapist who works closely with Charlie Gordon during his transformation from mental disability to genius. In many ways, Strauss is a slightly friendlier version of Nemur: like Nemur, he’s ambitious, conceited… read analysis of Doctor Strauss
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Rose Gordon (Charlie’s mother)

Charlie Gordon’s mother, and one of the most important influences on his life. Rose is a domineering, cruel mother who’s obsessed with outward appearances. She spends years denying that Charlie is mentally disabled, despite… read analysis of Rose Gordon (Charlie’s mother)

Fay Lillman

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… read analysis of Fay Lillman

Norma Gordon

Charlie Gordon’s younger sister. Norma, it’s implied, is an intelligent, hardworking woman, who always resented Charlie for getting more attention and love than she did. In spite of her rocky relationship with Charlie, Norma… read analysis of Norma Gordon

Fanny Birden

A worker at the bakery alongside Charlie Gordon—the only worker who doesn’t sign the petition to have Charlie fired. While Fanny doesn’t dislike or resent Charlie, she’s suspicious of Charlie’s operation, and cites the… read analysis of Fanny Birden
Minor Characters
Burt Seldon
A young, friendly graduate student who conducts tests on Charlie Gordon and helps him through the moral and ethical dilemmas of his changing intelligence.
Uncle Herman
Charlie Gordon’s uncle, who takes care of Charlie after his parents decide that Charlie is a danger to his sister.
Mr. Donner
The kindly owner of the bakery where Charlie Gordon works. Long ago, Mr. Donner swore to his good friend, Charlie’s Uncle Herman, that Charlie would always have a job at his bakery. Nevertheless, Donner dismisses Charlie when Charlie’s coworkers sign a petition against Charlie.
Joe Carp
An initially smug, bullying coworker of Charlie’s, who teases Charlie for his stupidity. Later in the novel, though, Joe becomes Charlie’s protector.
Frank Reilly
A bullying coworker of Charlie’s, who teases and plays tricks on Charlie.
A woman with whom Charlie dances following his surgery, prompting some of his first wet dreams.
Hymie Roth
A boy with whom Charlie Gordon goes to school, Hymie Roth tricks Charlie into giving Harriet a dirty note, leading Charlie to be kicked out of school.
A beautiful girl with whom Charlie Gordon goes to school.
Harriet’s older brother.
Matt Gordon
Charlie Gordon’s father, a calm, careful man who frequently takes Charlie’s side against Rose Gordon, his wife. As an adult, Charlie feels a strong affinity for his father, whom he regards as his protector.
Dr. Guarino
A quack doctor who cons Charlie Gordon’s parents into paying him to “cure” Charlie’s disability.
Bertha Nemur
The ambitious, jealous wife of Professor Harold Nemur.
A young dancer with whom Fay Lillman has a sexual relationship.
A female mouse that Fay Lillman offers as a companion to Algernon.
Mr. Winslow
The head of the Warren State Home for the mentally disabled.
Mr. Raynor
One of the wealthy sponsors of the Foundation that funds Charlie Gordon’s brain surgery.
Mrs. Raynor
One of the wealthy sponsors of the Foundation that funds Charlie Gordon’s brain surgery.
Mrs. Mooney
The landlady of the apartment building where Charlie Gordon lives in the second half of the novel.
An obnoxious man who bullies Charlie Gordon after Charlie returns to his job at the bakery.
A nurse who takes care of Charlie Gordon after his surgery.
A nurse who takes care of Charlie Gordon after his surgery.
A gruff man who works at the bakery with Charlie Gordon, and—much to Charlie’s horror—steals money from Mr. Donner. Charlie talks with Gimpy rather than reveal the theft, and convinces Gimpy to stop stealing. Later, after Charlie’s intelligence deteriorates, Gimpy protects Charlie.
Lester Braun
A mentally disabled student in Alice Kinnian’s class.