Critical Essays Fate versus Free Will


Are people truly responsible for their actions? This question has puzzled humanity throughout history. Over the centuries, people have pondered the influence of divine or diabolical power, environment, genetics, even entertainment, as determining how free any individual is in making moral choices. The ancient Greeks acknowledged the role of Fate as a reality outside the individual that shaped and determined human life. In modern times, the concept of fate has developed the misty halo of romantic destiny, which is how fate is viewed in The Notebook.

After spending just one summer together and then not being able to contact one another for fourteen years, the article spotting could be coincidence. Or it could be fate. Regardless of how that specific incident is viewed, Allie still has the power to act on her knowledge and feelings. She chooses to seek out Noah. She chooses to spend the evening and the next day (and the next night) with him. And she chooses to break off her engagement with Lon. The reader cannot know, nor speculate, the events that do not transpire outside the pages of The Notebook, but you can analyze what does occur.

Noah does agree to visit with Allie. Noah does invite her to spend the next day with him. And Noah does profess his love to her. Still, Allie chooses to leave Noah and face Lon before making any decisions. It is utterly romantic to believe that Noah and Allie are fated to be together, and that is the thematic essence of The Notebook. Nicholas Sparks, in an interview, stated that as an author, he is "addressing different aspects of love: everlasting love, first love, and second chances at love." These are important themes in all of his novels, and these themes "provide the subtext of the novel in addition to providing the unwritten subtext of the novel that the reader experiences. The subtext — what the author endeavors to show without explanation — gives the novel deeper meaning." Thus, the complex relationship between fate and free will is mirrored in the complex relationship between different aspects of love.