A life where he has been ridiculed.

A tranquil and
phlegmatic existence is corrupted with proliferating smarts. Algernon suggests that
hyper-intelligence is burdened with erratic feelings of anger and sudden
aggravation. Throughout the novel, Charlie’s behavior becomes increasingly
spasmodic as he progresses intellectually; “anger and suspicion were the
first reactions to the world around” him (58). Charlie while completing a
routine Rorschach test lashes out at Burt, a psychologist, and says “Those
inkblots upset me…I never recall being so angry before. I don’t think it was
Burt himself but suddenly everything exploded. I tossed the Rorschach cards on
the table and walk out” (56).  Before his
surgery, Charlie was known to be docile and unlikely to lash out at another
individual primarily because he “wasn’t smart enough to be mad” (24). His
behavior with Burt is unnatural for Charlie and is caused because his
intelligence makes it difficult for him to express himself which he compensates
for through anger. According to Brian Bethune, a psychologist, Rorschach tests
“slip by our defenses, because our brains are more visual than verbal… The
test taps into something more primal and emotional, so an unbalanced person is
going to often fall apart on a Rorschach test, even if they don’t on other
tests” (Bethune, para. 11). The Rorschach test Burt conducts on Charlie prompts
him to become aggressive as fostering Charlie’s intelligence has made him an
“unbalanced person”. Gaining a library of knowledge unhinges him as he is
unable to process the information. Rorschach tests are meant to draw out
emotional responses; in Charlie’s situation “the inkblots upset him” (56),
because it forces him to confront instances in his life where he has been
ridiculed. The situation encourages an angry response, simultaneously, stripping
happiness from his personality. Similarly, Charlie displays irrational
aggravation, again, when he is reading Paradise
Lost and “breaks the binding with the pressure of both his hands, as he
wanted to tear the book in half” (290). Displaying acrimonious emotions towards
an insentient item is unnatural for Charlie’s character and suggests his
transmute in personality. Keyes decides to incorporate aggressive words such as
“breaks” and “tear” in Charlie’s diction to indicate his growing unhappiness as
he transitioning to anger. Fanny, the only co-worker who showed kindness
towards Charlie, urges him to “go back to being the good simple man he was
before,” (107). Fanny’s deduction of Charlie’s change addresses the negativity
intelligence has instilled in him transforming a good-natured man into an
aggressive. Charlie’s descent
into baseless anger hinders him from taking pleasure in the positive aspects of
life. He is unable to express happy emotions, seemingly making his life
unhappy.