Lennie and Charlie
Uploaded by keko8338 on May 27, 2001
In the novel 'Of Mice and Men', by John Stienbeck, a mentally challenged man, Lennie, loses his innocence and his dream, of owning his own ranch with rabbits, when he accidentally breaks a woman's neck. In the novel 'Flowers or Algernon', by Daniel Keyes, another mentally challenged man, Charlie, loses his innocence and dreams, of being like everyone else, when, through the aid of an operation, realizes people were making fun of him rather than being his friends. Although, in both cases innocence and dreams were the loss, their innocence was also the underlying cause of the loss. Lennie is a very loveable character, who has hope and dreams. He wants to live on a ranch with George and raise rabbits. He looks at his plans as reachable even when it seems impossible because after he kills Curleys wife, Lennie still thinks he can have a ranch and rabbits, with the assurance of George. Although Lennie never reaches his dream, he dies with the thought of achievement. Charlie on the other hand, has dreams of being smart just like everyone else. He tries very hard in school and when offered the chance of having an operation to make him 'smart', he jumps at the opportunity. Although his teacher influences him, she had little impact. Unlike Lennie, Charlie reaches his dream but ends up broken hearted when his dream doesn't last.
Lennie had a soft spot for petting animals and soft things. He is totally oblivious to the fact that he hurts almost every thing he touches. He had pet mice and ended up killing them and when he played with the 'pup' he ended up killing it too. His uncontrolled strength also caused him to kill Curley's wife. "Lennie's fingers fell to stroking her hair... he stroked harder... "Let go!" she cried... She struggled violently... and then she was still; for Lennie had broken her neck." (Page 91). With the death of Curley's wife, Lennie's innocence was taken. He had unwillingly killed. He had to pay the price, by losing his life.
Charlie lived in a paradise-like world, he though he had many "friends". The only thing he felt he was missing was brains. When he was offered the chance to become 'smart' he jumped at the chance to be like everyone else. Unprepared for the changes intelligence would bring, Charlie lost his innocence. When he realizes his 'friends' don't...