Study Guide

I Am the Messenger Fate and Free Will

By Markus Zusak

Fate and Free Will

A mystery man shows up at your house with a folder and claims "It's all in there […] Everything I wrote for you" (5.the folder.13). Um, okay. We might start to freak out because we'd have a bunch of questions about how this guy was writing what we were going to do in the future. I Am the Messenger makes us think about whether Ed is in control of what's going on, or just acting out his life according to some cosmic plan. For most of the novel, Ed goes about his life by reacting to a series of tasks and people presented by the cards, so it's no wonder he feels uncertain about what comes next (and so are we).

Questions About Fate and Free Will

  1. Does the mystery man control Ed's life, or is he just predicting how Ed will react to the cards? How does Ed react to the folder he's presented with?
  2. The mystery man confesses that he set the whole thing up with the people Ed meets. How does that influence our understanding of fate and free will in the novel?
  3. Why is Ed uncertain about what to do next? Will he continue to help others? Is it his decision, or has it already been decided for him?
  4. What makes Ed drawn to the cards in the first place? Why does he go along with the messages?

Chew on This

Ed's life has been predetermined and he is just playing out what is already decided.

Even though the mystery man predicts how Ed will react to the cards, Ed is still in control of his life.

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