Katniss Everdeen. Peter Pan. Princess Leia. Harry Potter. What do all these people have in common? They are all considered heroes. But what makes a hero a hero? Why are they considered heros? Who can be considered a hero? When reading the story Flowers for Algernon, those questions may have arisen because the main character, Charlie Gordon, might not be considered a hero. Flowers for Algernon is a story about medical advances making humans smarter, in this case, Charlie. Charlie Gordon does not start off being your stereotypical hero. He is not smart or abnormally brave. He possesses no magical powers like many of our other beloved heroes. He can’t even spell well! Despite those reasons, Charlie Gordon can be considered a hero because he is motivated, he overcomes bad things/people in his life, and he has a big heart.
Charlie Gordon can be considered a hero because he is highly motivated. What’s the point of being a good guy if you don’t want anything? Every hero has something they work really hard to get. For example, Inigo Montoya wants to find the six fingered man and get revenge, Dorothy wants to get back to Kansas, and Luke Skywalker wants to get rid of the empire. Charlie Gordon really wants to be smart! In the story Flowers for Algernon, Charlie writes “I want to be smart like other people.” However, wanting something means nothing unless you work really hard to get it. Luckily, Charlie tries very hard to be smart. One example of him trying really hard is when he took the raw shok test, he couldn’t see anything in the ink. Most people would have given up if they couldn’t see anything in the ink. Not Charlie! Charlie writes that “I reely tryed to see. I held the card close up and then really far away.” This proves that Charlie Gordon is highly motivated to be smart because he’s trying to see pictures in the ink many different ways. He really wants to be smart and to pass the raw shok test so he could be knowledgeable. Since Charlie is motivated to be smart, he fits in with all the other heroes.
Another reason why Charlie Gordon can be considered a hero is that he overcomes bad things/people in his life. All heroes beat bad guys, it’s what makes them a hero! Bilbo Baggins beats Smaug, Percy Jackson defeats Kronos, and Jean Valjean beats his fear of people discovering that he is 24601. Joe and Frank are Charlie’s obstacles that he has to overcome. They start off as pretending to be Charlie’s friends. They weren’t actually Charlie’s friends, they were just taking advantage of him. They make fun of him by Luckily, once Charlie becomes smart, he realizes this. Joe and Frank then back off once Charlie is smart. Joe and Frank are the classic school yard bullies that are mean to people just because they can be or because they’re smarter than him/them. This makes them the villains of the Flowers for Algernon, thus, making Charlie Gordon the hero because he beats them. Charlie Gordon doesn’t necessarily beat them up, he wins in his own ‘Charlie Gordon’ way. He wins by making them rethink the way they treated him. Close to the end of the story, Joe and Frank actually stand up for Charlie. A guy starts pressuring Charlie to say something smart and Joe and Frank make him stop. If Charlie’s actions can change two people to be nice, then why doesn’t everyone consider him to be a hero? Because he wins against bad people, Charlie Gordon should be considered a hero.
Finally, Charlie Gordon can be considered a hero because he has a big heart. Other heroes have big hearts and this is their greatest strength. Who can forget the way Katniss Everdeen protects her family and friends? It was also Lily Potter’s love that saved Harry. Charlie Gordon’s big heart made him stand up for a boy in a restaurant just because he saw himself in that boy. He saw that was how people treated him. Some may say that, if his heart is so big, how come he shut Ms. Kinnian out of his room when she wanted to see him? The answer is simple. He was trying to protect her. He didn’t want to become attached to her or have she become attached to him because he knew that he was probably going to die soon. Charlie’s need to keep others safe proves that he can be considered a hero. He’s certainly not a villain! How many villains do you know that have big hearts? Since Charlie Gordon has a big heart, he can be considered a hero.
In conclusion, Charlie can be considered a hero because he’s motivated, he overcomes bad guys, and he has a big heart. Remember, heroes can come in all shapes and sizes. Just because they’re different doesn’t mean they can’t be heroes.