The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Fate vs. Free Will Quotes in The Time Traveler's Wife
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
[Henry to Henry:] "I was just talking about that with a self from 1992. […] he thinks that there is only free will when you are in time, in the present. He says in the past we can only do what we did, and we can only be there if we were there." (1.4.64)
Older Henry explains to younger Henry that because you have already lived your past, you can't change what happened, which means you have no free will even when popping back to those times. But you can choose how you want to live your life in your present.
[Henry to Henry:] "But […] you have to behave as though you have free will, as though you are responsible for what you do. […] Apparently, if you don't, things are bad. Depressing." (1.4.64)
Henry suggests that if you don't take responsibility for your actions, you'll feel no control over your life and therefore your life won't mean anything to you. He believes that a sense of purpose in life is the key to happiness.
[Henry to Clare:] "[…] I had this huge crush on Parry Hearst […] She was a rich California girl who got kidnapped by these awful left-wing political terrorists, and they made her rob banks. […] I guess I kind of knew how she felt, being taken away and forced to do stuff she didn't want to do, and then it seemed like she was kind of enjoying it." (1.4.132-136)
Henry admits to his ambivalent feelings about his time-traveling condition. On the one hand, he feels trapped and like a victim, on the other he enjoys not having a choice but to go on the ride.