Daniel Keyes uses foreshadowing and character actions/reaction to create mood
In the story “Flowers For Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, I found myself noticing a lot of mood while reading. The way he weaved the foreshadowing and character actions so well to slowly build up your mood while reading amazed me. Just a few bits and pieces of the book show so much emotion.
“…Joe said Charlie is a card when hes potted.I dont know what that means but everybody likes me and we have fun… I went out to buy a newspaper and coffe for Joe and Frank and when I came back there was no one their. I looked for them all over till late. Then I dont remember so good but I think I got sleepy or sick. A nice cop brot me back home…I think maybe I fell but Joe Carp says it was the cop they beat up drunks some times. I don’t think so. Miss Kinnian says cops are to help people.”
Foreshadowing and character actions are being used a lot in this passage, but mostly character action and reaction. At the end of the passage, Charlie is skeptical of what Joe and Frank told him about the cop. This is showing that Charlie’s brain is beginning to grow, and foreshadowing the beginning of noticeable intelligence growth. before, he would’ve believed just about anything anybody told him. Now, he’s questioning something that his “friend” told him, which shows that his brain is starting to grow. With action, we see Joe and Frank making fun of Charlie, who has never done a thing against anyone, and who’s been trying his hardest to do things right.Joe and Frank ditch Charlie in middle of the city, knowing that Charlie might not know the way home, which is rude and such a horrible thing to do to anyone. With reaction, we see Charlie being made fun of, and when I was reading, that made me feel kind of angry, and it made me feel so bad for Charlie, because he doesn’t know how terrible people can be, and how people are making fun of him. He just stands there and laughs along, not even knowing that the joke is him. This passage is using character actions because the author tries to leave us thinking about how we feel when Joe and Frank are making fun of such a nice person, and how we feel about Charlie’s reaction. Foreshadowing creates a mood of hope for Charlie, while character action and reaction creates a mood of sadness and pity towards Charlie, and anger towards Joe and Frank.
“They said why did you want to. I told them becaus all my life I wantid to be smart and not dumb. But its very hard to be smart. They said you know it will probly be tempirery. I said yes. Miss Kinnian told me. I dont care if it herts.”
Here, foreshadowing is being used to clue the reader into what happens at the end, how Charlie is going to feel after the operation. In the beginning, the book sets you up to think that Charlie will be okay, he’ll be successful and his intelligence will take him far. It sets you up to feel hope, only to knock you down at the end, creating a mood of sadness. As you read the first time, you don’t really know what will happen, and when Charlie’s brain starts to fail, you realize that even though he said he wouldn’t care about what happens, he really does, and this is where mood comes into play. You start feeling so terrible for Charlie and what’s happened. When reading, I found myself “aw”-ing in my head, and feeling so bad for him. This small thought from Charlie really foreshadows the mood towards the end of the story. He wants to be smart so badly, he doesn’t really care or even ask about the risks of the operation. Although he says “I dont care if it herts”, in the end he’s desperate for a solution, or even just a delay for what’s to come. This creates sort of a mood of pity, even sadness for the man who’s realized at the peak of his intelligence that he will deteriorate into even less than he started with. This can make you feel maybe a twinge of sadness, proving how foreshadowing is creating tons of feeling and the mood of the story.
“Burt, who is in charge of the experimental animals, tells me that Algernon is changing. He is less co-operative; he refuses to run the maze any more; general motivation has decreased. And he hasn’t been eating. Everyone is upset about what this may mean.”
This is a literary device because Algernon’s actions are sort of foreshadowing Charlie’s, and so this is both foreshadowing and character action. In this passage, foreshadowing and character are working very closely together. All of Charlie’s actions are being foreshadowed by Algernon throughout the book, and so when Algernon starts to not operate correctly, of course everyone is worried. This is creating the mood of despair and worry towards Charlie.
This book is full of foreshadowing and character actions and mood. I would include all of it, but then my post would be way too long. So, I will end it here, and leave you to add your thoughts about the book in the comments.