At some point in life, we will all experience the loss of innocence. This loss is not a choice but an eventuality. In the novel "They Shall Inherit the Earth", Michael Aikenhead, Andrew Aikenhead and Dave Choate have all experienced this loss of innocence in different ways, but mainly through the perspective of others. Morley Callaghan in "They Shall Inherit the Earth" demonstrates the loss of innocence through the actions and conflicts between the characters in the novel.
Michael Aikenhead had always been an impulsive individual, even while he was just a boy, and because of this, Michael had lost his innocence. When Michael Aikenhead was a kid, he had already lost his innocence in many ways. When Michael Aikenhead was a kid, he had beaten his step brother Dave Choate, and "rubbed his face steadily in the dirt" after he had quarreled with and refused to accept Dave. Michael Aikenhead had also lost his innocence when he was young by running away from home because of his feelings of anger towards his father for marrying Martha Choate, and taking his sister, Sheila Aikenhead, with him. Michael had not only lost his innocence by running away from home but he also lost his innocence by convincing Sheila into thinking negative thoughts about her father, Andrew Aikenhead, and saying such things as "they don’t want us, do they?" about her father and step mother. Although Michael had made many mistakes as a kid, it is almost expected that kids make mistakes because they do not know better and so therefore the loss of innocence during childhood is not nearly as severe as the loss of innocence during the later stages in life. Michael Aikenhead had not only lost his innocence as a child but had also lost his innocence as a mature adult many times and in many ways. When Michael told Anna Prychoda about Huck Farr and how he though Huck was a "grand guy" and "as steady as the Rock Ages" , he had lost his innocence because he lied to Anna, he knew that Huck was not a good man and just wanted to take advantage of her. Michael Aikenhead had been wrong many times and because of this, he had lost his innocence through the eyes of others. However, Michael Aikenhead not only lost his innocence through the eyes of others, but had also lost his innocence through his own eyes. While staying at a cottage that his father owned up in the country, it can be argued that Michael had murdered Dave Choate. Michael had taken Dave Choate out on a boat to try to convince Dave to leave Sheila alone. Dave refused to listen to Michael and asked Michael repeatedly to turn the boat around, but Michael simply said "I won’t turn back till we settle this" . Dave Choate finally decided that since Michael would not row him back home, he would just swim home, and so Dave "dived off the end of the boat" . Michael was not about to give up and so he began to row after Dave. When he got to Dave, he did not help him onto the boat but instead "tried to hook him with the oar" and tire him but he did not succeed and soon, Dave was headed to the other shore. A few days later, Dave’s body was found and Dave’s mother, Martha Choate, blamed Michael’s father, Andrew Aikenhead for murdering Dave because of an argument they had a few nights ago. Soon, rumors were being spread all around about Michael’s
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father, Andrew Aikenhead, murdering Dave. Therefore, Michael had not only lost his innocence by being the cause of Dave’s death, but he had also ruined Andrew Aikenhead’s life by not confessing what he had done. Further more, Michael was not only guilty of hiding the truth, but "it did not seem unjust to Michael that he should be free and his father should be bearing the blame for Dave Choate’s death." It was not until Michael married Anna Prychoda and was waiting for his son to be born that he realized everything he had done was wrong. As he looked out the window of the hospital, Michael had