“Flowers for Algernon” Final Essay

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Throughout the book, Flowers for Algernon, Charlie experiences many symbols and visions in his dreams that depict a huge impact on the story. One night, in a dream, Charlie hears a song known as The Three Blind Mice: “Three blind mice…three blind mice, see how they run! See how they run!”(277). This exemplifies a huge part in Charlie’s life because of his relationships, his personality, and how he has changed. For instance, the three blind mice symbolize Charlie, who, with his lack of intelligence, would run blindly through life, unaware of most of the world around him. In the rest of the song, it shows a very different outlook on Charlie’s personal life: “They all run after the farmer’s wife, she cut off their tails with a carving knife, did you ever see such a sight in your life, As three…blind…mice?”(277). The farmer’s wife in the rhyme has a double meaning/symbolization.

Firstly, it symbolizes Charlie’s sister or almost any other female he is close to because it is describing the female who goes to cut the mouse’s tail off. For example ‘They all run after the farmer’s wife’ could mean when he tries to get close to Alice. Charlie tries to make things work with Alice even though it’s hard because Alice feared that if something were to happen to Charlie it would hurt her too much. However, Charlie still ran after her and tried to have a relationship with her. When it gets to the line, ‘she cuts off their tails with a carving knife’ the farmer’s wife becomes Rose. She would threaten Charlie and keep him away from his sister and because of this, he has trouble and panic attacks when trying to get close to Alice, who is in a way, like a mother figure to him. For example, Alice stayed with Charlie through it all and most of the time, Alice is the one that Charlie turns to when he is in need. Much later in the story, after his dream, Rose even threatened him with a knife literally when he went to visit his sister and tried to simply hug her.

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In another dream, Charlie then experiences more symbols, in this case, peanuts, which symbolize his penis: “And Charlie feared that he was going to lose his peanuts” (196). First of all, Charlie’s peanuts represent his genitals. He is so afraid of losing them because that is the one thing that represents that he is a man and defines him as a male. So to him, it is very important that he has them and doesn’t get them “cut off.” Not only does this make him feel like a man, but also in his previous relationships including Alice, Rose, and Fan. In this dream, he shows that he is scared of having an intimate relationship with women. Before his dream, the old Charlie had stopped himself from becoming intimate with Alice because his mom taught that he is not allowed to treat women that way.

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