A tranquil andphlegmatic existence is corrupted with proliferating smarts. Algernon suggests thathyper-intelligence is burdened with erratic feelings of anger and suddenaggravation.
Throughout the novel, Charlie’s behavior becomes increasinglyspasmodic as he progresses intellectually; “anger and suspicion were thefirst reactions to the world around” him (58). Charlie while completing aroutine Rorschach test lashes out at Burt, a psychologist, and says “Thoseinkblots upset me…I never recall being so angry before.
I don’t think it wasBurt himself but suddenly everything exploded. I tossed the Rorschach cards onthe table and walk out” (56). Before hissurgery, Charlie was known to be docile and unlikely to lash out at anotherindividual primarily because he “wasn’t smart enough to be mad” (24).
Hisbehavior with Burt is unnatural for Charlie and is caused because hisintelligence makes it difficult for him to express himself which he compensatesfor through anger. According to Brian Bethune, a psychologist, Rorschach tests”slip by our defenses, because our brains are more visual than verbal… Thetest taps into something more primal and emotional, so an unbalanced person isgoing to often fall apart on a Rorschach test, even if they don’t on othertests” (Bethune, para. 11).
The Rorschach test Burt conducts on Charlie promptshim to become aggressive as fostering Charlie’s intelligence has made him an”unbalanced person”. Gaining a library of knowledge unhinges him as he isunable to process the information. Rorschach tests are meant to draw outemotional responses; in Charlie’s situation “the inkblots upset him” (56),because it forces him to confront instances in his life where he has beenridiculed. The situation encourages an angry response, simultaneously, strippinghappiness from his personality. Similarly, Charlie displays irrationalaggravation, again, when he is reading ParadiseLost and “breaks the binding with the pressure of both his hands, as hewanted to tear the book in half” (290).
Displaying acrimonious emotions towardsan insentient item is unnatural for Charlie’s character and suggests histransmute in personality. Keyes decides to incorporate aggressive words such as”breaks” and “tear” in Charlie’s diction to indicate his growing unhappiness ashe transitioning to anger. Fanny, the only co-worker who showed kindnesstowards Charlie, urges him to “go back to being the good simple man he wasbefore,” (107).
Fanny’s deduction of Charlie’s change addresses the negativityintelligence has instilled in him transforming a good-natured man into anaggressive. Charlie’s descentinto baseless anger hinders him from taking pleasure in the positive aspects oflife. He is unable to express happy emotions, seemingly making his lifeunhappy.