The story Flowers for Algernon depicts the meaning of intelligence in a very deep sense. The narrow definition intelligence is the capacity to learn, to understand, or to deal with new or trying situations. It is a concrete definition in such a way that it also means the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria as tests. Yet the story goes beyond this concrete explanation of what intelligence really is.
It shows a whole new perspective of the meaning intelligence. The novel gives a theory of the more intelligent you become the more problems you will obtain. As a result your intellectual growth is going to outstrip your emotional growth. This theory is shown in the novel with Charlie having two growths, intellectual and emotional. These two growths interact by reason of once there is a high intellectual growth that is rapidly out growing, the emotional growth will stay the same or increase at a much lower speed.
The definition of intelligence that is explained in the book is having certain attributes that help you become a stronger individual. The qualities are having honesty, ethics morals and compassion. One has to achieve this intelligence thoughtlessly; Charlie shows this before he has his operation. By reaching this type of intelligence a person does not have to have a lot knowledge or a high I. Q, but you may reach peace in life by being a spiritually kind person that is previously show in the abstract definition. The only positive effects of the intellectual growth that one can gain is to be able to experience what the concrete definition was like in one's own personal experience.
Yet the negative effects of the operation, which were great, was the intellectual and emotional growth colliding. As a human that was born with the intellectual potential and without a disability, would have experienced this over a normal human life span, and the emotional growth would increase along side of the intellectual- set by society's standards. Reading the novel has a clear definition of the more maturity you gain the less intelligent you are, and the more innocence you have the more intelligence you gain.