Especially in the second half of the novel, Charlie Gordon experiences vivid hallucinations of his younger self, often peering out from behind a window. Charlie’s visions prove that he hasn’t entirely overcome his own troubled past: not only is there a part of his mind that continues to suffer from mental disability, but he’s also still traumatized by his childhood experiences. As a child, Charlie’s mother, Rose Gordon, beat him for misbehaving or touching women, even in the most innocent ways. As a result, Charlie—even as a brilliant adult—can’t be intimate with women without hallucinating a younger version of his self. The symbolism is clear: the child is “father to the man”—that is, Charlie’s internalized sense of fear and inferiority from childhood lives on in his own head as an adult.
Charlie’s Hallucinations (younger Charlie) Quotes in Flowers for Algernon
Somehow, getting drunk had momentarily broken down the conscious barriers that kept the old Charlie Gordon hidden deep in my mind. As I suspected all along, he was not really gone. Nothing in our minds is ever really gone. The operation had covered him over with a veneer of education and culture, but emotionally he was there—watching and waiting.
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.