From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
One of the Lives

One of the Lives


by M.S. Merwin

One of the Lives Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

If I had not met the red-haired boy whose father (1)

If the speaker had never met this boy, he wouldn't be where (and who) he is today. Our speaker didn't choose to meet this boy, he just did.

Quote #2

and if I had written anything else at the top of the examination where it said college (10-11)

This could go either way, but it seems like more of a choice, or free will moment. The speaker chooses a certain college and that sends his life down a certain path.

Quote #3

            […] or if the questions that day had been
put differently […] (12-13)

Now Merwin is mixing it up. The speaker chose the college, but not the difficulty of the questions. So there's a little mix of a fate and free will here.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...