A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time Fate and Free Will Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Calvin reached out and caught both Charles and Meg by the arm. "You remember when we met, you asked me why I was there? And I told you it was because I had a compulsion, a feeling I just had to come to that particular place at that particular moment?"
"I've got another feeling. Not the same kind, a different one, a feeling that if we go into that building we're going into terrible danger." (6.170-172)
On the one hand, duh, of course it's going to be dangerous. On the other, this raises the question of how much free will the kids have in this situation. Is it really an option for them to turn back at this point?
"Now, my dears," the words continued, "I shall of course have no need of recourse to violence, but I thought perhaps it would save you pain if I showed you at once that it would do you no good to try to oppose me. You see, what you will soon realize is that there is no need to fight me. Not only is there no need, but you will not have the slightest desire to do so. For why should you wish to fight someone who is here only to save you pain and trouble? For you, as well as for the rest of all the happy, useful people on this planet, I, in my own strength, am willing to assume all the pain, all the responsibility, all the burdens of thought and decision." (7.62)
Camazotz, and IT, are decidedly on the side of fate (in IT's case, for other people more than for itself). IT makes the case that free will brings only suffering and anxiety – if you just do what you're told, you never have to worry whether you're doing the right thing. It makes a certain amount of sense.
The man lifted his lips into a smile, and his smile was the most horrible thing Meg had ever seen. "Why don't you trust me, Charles? Why don't you trust me enough to come in and find out what I am? I am peace and utter rest. I am freedom from all responsibility. To come in to me is the last difficult decision you need ever make." (7.148)
"Freedom from all responsibility" suggests the moral element in the fate vs. free will debate – if people only do what's fated to happen, can they be held morally responsible for their actions? Even choices, however, are shaped by influences beyond an individual's control – so what does that mean for moral responsibility?