In Flowers For Algernon a main theme that is conveyed in the story is abuse of the mentally ill. Throughout the story, Charlie gets mistreated several times mainly from his co-workers or what he soon finds out his fake friends. As we know, Charlie is a mentally ill person. He tries very hard to make changes to himself to get smarter and in the end he changes significantly. On the other hand, we know that Charlie understands the world in a better picture after he becomes smarter. When he becomes smart he realizes that people treated him lower than a human being because of their feelings of superiority. For example, it states, in the passage “ I fell a few times and I couldn’t understand why because no one else was dancing besides Ellen and me.
And all the time I was tripping because somebody’s foot was always sticking out.” This emphasizes, that although Charlie didn’t realize at that point they were mistreating him they really were because he was mentally retarded. As a matter of fact, he was too drunk to realize that they were tripping him and he wouldn’t even know since they tricked him. Also it states “ I never knew that Joe and Frank and the others liked to have me around just to make fun of me.” In other words, the moment Charlie finds out that they were just using him all along he gains a very disrespectful attitude to the people around him and treats them the same way he was mistreated. Also, it states “ I was shocked to learn that the only ancient languages he could read were Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and that he knows almost nothing of mathematics beyond the elementary levels of the calculus variations.”
In other words, Charlie grew smarter quickly and he actually improved and learned multiple things he hadn’t known in the past. For instance, his vocabulary, and his comprehension drastically. As a matter of fact, he even exceeded Dr. Nemurs intelligence. In the end, when Charlie was very smart he actually saw people as inferiors compared to him because he wanted to make them understand the pain and harshness he went through. In brief, one of the many themes in “Flowers For Algernon” is that the abuse of the mentally ill as we see multiple situations of the mentally ill getting abused and mistreated.