Flowers for Algernon Essay

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“Flowers for Algernon, first published in 1959, is considered a landmark work on both science fiction and disability literature,” (Werlock 2009). The American Library Association reports that this novel was banned as an obscene for its love scenes. When the main character, Charlie Gordon, increases his IQ from 68 to a level that makes him a genius (after received experimental brain surgery), his maturity leads him to fall in love with his teacher, and a sexual encounter ensues. This caused Flowers for Algernon to be banned and challenged in many places (Plant City, Florida- 1976, Emporium, Pennsylvania- 1977, Oberlin High School (Ohio) - 1983, among others). Most people consider the sexual scenes fairly mild, but there are those who …show more content…
Flowers for Algernon has been recognized by many administrators due to the fact that it would make an effective focus for reading and discussing in English class. For this reason, Flowers for Algernon has been used extensively throughout both middle and high school classes. Flowers for Algernon appears on reading lists, including the American Library Association’s Outstanding Books for the College Bound, the National Council of Teachers of English Books for You, and various others, as well. ( 4 May 2011). The use of Flowers for Algernon has not been without censorship problems, mainly due to sexual and religious reasons, but it has been acknowledged as a great piece of literature (Karolides 253-54). Flowers for Algernon has been banned and challenged by many parents in various schools. The novel was banned in schools in Florida (1976) and Arkansas (1981), and it has been challenged in Wyoming High School due to parents complaints’ (1984). Flowers for Algernon was banned due to its references to sex as well as a sexual encounter between Charlie and his teacher. Parents complained that Charlie’s first sexual encounter was too detailed and “explicit loves scenes were distasteful.” Also, many parents in North Carolina protested that the books in the school library were “pornographic” while the parents from Cameron County School protested to the district board of education, complaining that the book was “sexually oriented trash.”

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