The theme for Flowers for Algernon was how society treats mentally handicapped people. Before Charlie had gotten his surgery, people had been kinder to him as long as they could feel superior to him. However, afterwards, Charlie discovers that not everyone was as kind to him as he thought, and therefor tries to treat the people who are now intellectually inferior to him how they had treated him. However, when he goes to visit his classmates at Beekman's, he becomes afraid of them because he doesn't want to accept that he was once like them.