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The City
A coming-of-age tale of a jazz prodigy finding his way in 1960s New York City.
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What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

Created: 07/14/14

Replies: 10

Posted Jul. 14, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1318

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What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

The question of fate versus free will takes center stage in this novel, with Jonah coming to believe that "there is no fate, only free will." What are the critical moments of decision in the novel? How did you feel about the fates of the various characters?

Have you ever been at a crossroad in your life where events could have gone very differently had you taken a different path? Do you consider the outcome of these instances fate, or like Jonah, do you believe that it was one of the times that you listened to the "small voice" that "wants only what is best for us?"


Posted Jul. 14, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

Personally, I believe my life is already mapped out, so I go along with the flow. I'm sure to some degree I can alter my destination, ultimately my destination will be reached by long arduous twists and turns, highs and lows. I make every effort to make the right choices, nonetheless the end result isn't always in my control. Fate for sure... I subscribe to the idea "there is no such thing as accidents."


Posted Jul. 14, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 158

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RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

I think that fate sets up a number of possible outcomes for our choices, so there is an element of predestination and also an element of free will. We ultimately choose which path we will follow.


Posted Jul. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 158

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RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

I do believe my life path has been roughly set in place but my free will is the final determination of where that path leads. I believe my learning experiences along the way and my willingness to be open to these experiences have helped me shape my path not yet journeyed. I guess I feel both are important but because I have been open to change and learning my free will has been more of a determiner of my fate than what might have originally been set in place for me.


Posted Jul. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 294

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RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

Obviously life is not totally free will, or the passengers on the vanished Malaysian Airlines flight would be found. But I know for a fact from personal experience that sometimes those seemingly-random thoughts that comes to one's head can be a type of free will direction over fate. Choices do alter a person's life path. Going to a different college could lead to a different spouse, etc.

As for Jonah, I so wanted him to tell his mother immediately about his father's scary stalking incident early in the book.


Posted Jul. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christineb

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 46

RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

I agree with Janeh. Every life experience shape the decisions we make - the paths we take. I so wish we were able to look back and see where life would have taken us if different decisions in our lives had been made.


Posted Jul. 20, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

Posts: 206

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RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

Things like where and when we were born and our personalities and talents affect the way our lives unfold. However, within those limitations, I think we have free will to make life decisions.


Posted Jul. 25, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tyrad

Join Date: 07/17/14

Posts: 9

RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

The one passage that resonates with me is the "Butter Up Day." I think Malcolm had an interesting belief. If the bread landed butter side up he would eat it with pleasure "confident that the day would be good from end to end." On the other hand, if the bread landed butter side down, he would "go about his day with heightened awareness of potential danger." We may not be like Malcolm with a ritualistic belief, but we certainly form attitudes about life that influence our view of the world.


Posted Jul. 26, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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jant

Join Date: 07/15/14

Posts: 20

RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

I believe we make part of our own fate using free will. I do believe in a higher power that is basically hands off. There are things in life you cannot change: your sex, your family etc. but you have choices to make your life better or worse. I do believe the Bledsoe family did believe in fate especially when it came to race relations. They choose not to let the civil rights unrest change their family although they were aware of the changing times. They were each active in determining their fates.


jan t
Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
caroln

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 48

RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

Every life experience shapes the decisions we make - the paths we take. I admired the way the Bledsoe family handled the civil rights unrest that changed their family in so many ways.


Posted Aug. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 294

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RE: What are your thoughts on fate versus free will?

The choices people make can affect their future. I do not necessarily believe that the moment a person is born, his or her path in life is 100% pre-determined. At the same time, when people totally dissatisfied in a career or a school, then that could be Fate nudging them to move on to where their energies can best be used.


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