Flowers For Algernon And Other Stories

The most obvious contrast between Flowers for Algernon and other short stories,
such as "A & P" and "Miss Brill" is the length. But length is not
the topic for this short essay. The predominant difference, besides length, is
the number of fully realized characters in the story. In "A & P" and

"Miss Brill" the only fully developed characters are Sammy in "A &

P" and Miss Brill in "Miss Brill." In the short story "A & P" by

John Updike, there is a character, Sammy, who is shown experiencing about 15
minutes (maybe less) of life in a market. Besides Sammy, the rest of the people
in the story are basically cardboard characters that create conflict for Sammy.

The reader never really gets to know the store manager or the girls because they
are all looked at through the eyes of Sammy. In a longer story, other characters
might have been fleshed out and given more complex and real personalities
instead of acting as catalysts for the plot. In the short story "Miss Brill"
by Katherine Mansfield, there is a character, Miss Brill who is a completely
developed character. The other characters in the story—the people in the park
and the two teenagers on the bench next to her—only help to develop Miss Brill
further. The reader never knows any of the supporting characters (if they can
even be called supporting). Just as in "A & P" they are nothing more
than catalysts. In the long short story "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel

Keyes, Charlie Gordon is, indeed, the main character. In this story however, he
is not the only character. The other characters in the story are not just things
to move the plot along and develop Charlie as a character, but are full
characters themselves. Alice, Charlie’s "love interest" cares for Charlie
even before the operation. She is conflicted in the way that she wants Charlie
to be smarter, but is not so sure of the operation. Her feelings come out pretty
obviously in the last scene when Charlie (after his high IQ has dwindled back to
where he was, or even less) goes back to class. When she sees him back in the
class for people with learning problems, she runs out crying because of what has
happened to Charlie. We understand why she does what she does, and also can
relate to her feelings and emotions. The difference between stories like "A
& P," "Miss Brill," and "Flowers for Algernon" is that short
stories present an opportunity to focus on the personality of a single character
while longer stories can have a more developed supporting characters. Focusing
on only one character does not make a story of any less worth than a story with
fifty developed characters. It is just a different style of writing.