Told through a series of "progress reports" written by the main character Charlie, Flowers for Algernon examines the potential for science to benefit humanity, as well as cause considerable harm. The novel also offers a critique of the treatment of the mentally disabled. After undergoing an experimental surgery, Charlie, who was mentally disabled, sees his IQ triple. With his higher intelligence, Charlie is able to live a full adult life. But, the effects of the surgery prove to be temporary and Charlie soon returns to his initial intelligence level.