National University ENG 599 Week 2 Discussion Post Flowers for Algernon.docx

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Flowers for Algernonis a novel that I hold near and dear to my heart. It tells the story of a mentally disabled man being given the ability to become a genius whilst learning throughout the story how isolating it is to have so much he should be happy about but no one to share it with. As someone who has attended more special education classes than regular ones, I believe this text represents a culture that is not usually represented in media. Ideological criticism is a method in rhetorical criticism in which one studies a text based on the culture surrounding it at the time of its creation.Flowers for Algernonwas published in April of 1959, when public conceptions of mental disabilities were quite extreme compared to today. A journal article, titled "Public Conceptions of Mental Illness in 1950 and 1996: What Is Mental Illness and Is It to be Feared?" by Jo C. Phelan, et al., states that "[i]n the 1950s, the public defined mental illness in much narrower and more extreme terms than did psychiatry, and fearful and rejecting attitudes toward people with mental illnesses were common." The text showcases these attitudes, as those around its main character, Charlie Gordon, exhibit either fear or mockery
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