The Cause and the Loss: Comparison Between “Mice and Men” and “Flowersfor Algernon”In the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ (John Stienbeck) amentally challenged man, Lenny, loses his innocence when heaccidentally breaks a woman’s neck.
In the novel ‘Flowersfor Algernon’ (Daniel Keyes) another mentally challengedman, Charlie, loses his innocence when, through the aid ofan operation, he realizes all his life people were mockinghim rather than being his friends. Although, in both casesinnocence was the loss, their innocence was also theunderlying cause of the loss. Lenny had a soft spot for petting animals and softthings and was totally oblivious to the fact that he wasmuch to big and strong for such delicate creatures, and evensome humans. “Lenny’s fingers fell to stroking her hair. .Order now
. he stroked harder. . . “Let go!” she cried.
. . She struggledviolently. . . and then she was still; for Lenny had brokenher neck.
” (page 91). In innocence of his own strength,Lenny had killed a woman and suddenly traded his innocencefor guilt. Charlie grew up having a paradise-like world where hesupposedly had many friends. His lifelong ambition, tobecome smart.
When the chance came he took the offerreadily, unprepared for the changes in his life it wouldbring. “And what was that Joe and the rest of them weredoing. Laughing at me. And the kids playing hide-and-go-seekwere playing tricks on me and they were laughing at metoo. .
. I felt naked” (page 30). All of a sudden Charlierealized everyone had always laughed at him, not with him,and he suddenly ashamed/naked. In his innocence he hadrequested “smartness” and with it came the loss of hisinnocence followed by shame then anger.
In both cases Lenny and Charlie were tempted and intheir innocence they accepted. In both cases their innocencewas lost. Although their innocence may have appeared toothers as a struggle to both Lenny and Charlie it was aparadise, and they knew that. Thankfully they both regainedtheir innocence and in doing so, they both regained theirparadise.