Plot Diagram | Flowers for Algernon Summary
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-10
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a novel with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell have students create a scene that follows the novel in the sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Example Flowers for Algernon Plot Diagram
Charlie Gordon, 32 years old and developmentally disabled with an I.Q. of 68, has been chosen for an experimental surgery to increase his intelligence. The doctors have told him to begin keeping a journal to record his thoughts and progress. The procedure has already worked on a mouse called Algernon, and the doctors are optimistic that it will be successful for Charlie, too.
The surgery is a success, and Charlie’s intelligence skyrockets. However, he finds that his emotional intelligence hasn’t kept pace with his intellect. He also begins to realize the cruelty with which his “friends” have been treating him. Charlie develops feelings for Alice Kinnian, but he can’t seem to find himself on the proper emotional level with her. Charlie is also plagued by disturbing childhood memories of his mother mistreating him.
Charlie leaves his job at the bakery because the others treat him strangely now, and with fear. They don’t understand the change that is happening in Charlie. Charlie begins to read voraciously and absorbs so much information that he quickly surpasses his doctors. He develops a sense of affinity with Algernon, and feels increasingly alienated from the people he interacts with, including Alice.
Charlie is taken to a scientific convention in Chicago where he and Algernon are being showcased. Charlie becomes increasingly perturbed as they show films and pictures of him in early interviews, which he had not been aware of. He also realizes that there is a mistake in the scientific process, and that they cannot say with certainty how permanent the change will be. He lets Algernon escape from his cage and takes him back to New York City, where he rents an apartment and lies low for a month. In the meantime, Algernon begins to regress, and Charlie realizes he doesn’t have much time left.
Charlie and Algernon return to the lab, where Charlie continues his research round-the-clock. Charlie finally submits his report, which concludes that, “Artificially-induced intelligence deteriorates at a rate of time directly proportional to the quantity of the increase.” Algernon dies, and Charlie goes to visit his mother and sister. He finds his mother is senile, and his sister Norma is her caretaker. He discovers how much Norma resented him, and has since resented her life as a caretaker for her mother. He and Norma reconcile, as Charlie knows he won’t be able to play the “big brother” role for much longer.
Charlie and Alice finally consummate their relationship before Charlie’s regression begins to worsen. They spend a few weeks living together before Charlie’s moods finally drive her away. His coordination, spelling, and grammar begin to worsen, He gets his job back at the bakery, but he decides to leave because he doesn’t want people to feel sorry for him. His final wish before going to live at the Warren Home is for someone to put flowers on Algernon’s grave, a symbolic gesture of remembering Algernon’s importance, along with Charlie’s.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a visual plot diagram of Flowers for Algernon.
- Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
- Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
- Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
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