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Free Will

We argue that free will is what makes the world go round. (instead of fate)
by

Ye Young Kim

on 18 December 2013

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Transcript of Free Will

Can it not be said that Jean Valjean met the bishop by fate? He coincidentally ran into the woman who was outside the bishop's house.
Jean Valjean would not have met this woman if he did not continue to ask for hospitality from neighboring buildings. This is free will, and it took dedication and perseverance.
Jean Valjean
"'Upon the bench?' said she. 'You cannot pass the night so. You must be cold and hungry. They should give you lodging for charity.'
'I have knocked at every door... Everybody has driven me away'" (pgs 11-12).
Rebuttal
Javert
Javert is a victim of fate as evident in the novel. With Javert's parents being criminals, Javert had ahead two paths laid before him: the same path his parents took, or the path contradicting their deeds, the path of the law. When he took this path, it became his religion and when he came at another crossroad, the only choice he had was to kill himself.
Rebuttal
Ultimately, Javert controls his own decisions. Committing suicide is only one of the many options he could have taken. Although it is necessary to be dedicated to his duty, (free will) he must look at the world around him too. (fate)
Free Will
Claim
Destiny is determined by free will. Results occur based on our decisions and choices.
Jean Valjean
1. He saves children from a fire.
2. He lets Javert go free when he has the opportunity to kill him.
3. He saves Marius at the barricades.
Thernardier's
Counterargument: When poverty struck the Thenardier's, they turned to criminal acts to try to escape it. It was inevitable, and they had to do it in order to survive.
Acts of Redemption
Jean Valjean chose to be benevolent and redeem himself. Hence, he had an internal peace and a calm death.
Thenardier chose to steal and cheat throughout his adulthood, and as a result he got arrested.
Javert
Javert's demise was his choice, and his preference only.
Thenardier
The Thenardier's have acted in this cruel manner their whole lives, just look at how they treated Cosette. Falling into poverty is

not

going to change their ways of living.
Marius found out about Thernardier's cruel plan to rob or kill Jean Valjean, and forced him to America, where he became a slaver.
Rebuttal
Evidences:
"He saw before him two roads, both equally straight, but he saw two, and that
terrified
him..." (p.530)

"He had a superior, Monsieur Gisquet...
until today
, of that other superior, God" (p, 532)

"...a tall and black form, which from the distance some belated passer might have taken for a
phantom
, appeared standing on the parapet, bent toward the Seine,
then sprang up,
and
fell
straight into the darkness..." (p. 534)
"Jean Valjean, my brother, you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from the dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!" (pg.34)
"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
-Robert Frost
Real-World Examples
President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy and Jean Valjean both use free will to make the world better for their people and themselves. During John F. Kennedy's presidency, he made sure to transform his country into a strong and powerful nation. This is the same with Jean Valjean, or "Mayor Madeleine". He took over a weak and poverty-stricken town and turned it into a happy and wealthy community. Both of these people took advantage of their leadership and used free will to earn great respect from their citizens.
Syria Rebellions
In the past year, the people of Syria, Egypt have been rebelling against their government for the unfair treatment and oppression. They show the courage and determination of the student revolutionaries. Both groups of people are using free will to rebel against something they do not believe is right. However, the people of Syria have succeeded in abolishing their former leader and are currently in election for their new one. Although the two groups have two different outcomes, they both decided to take manners into their own hands and protest against their leaders.
Conclusion
The most dynamic characters were Thenardier, Jean Valjean, and Javert.

Thenardier depicts this idea as his life of crime eventually degrades into one in the sewers of Paris.
Jean Valjean demonstrates free will by showing his willingness to change and his perseverance to attain redemption.
Javert stands to serve as a memorable example of the importance of free will by choosing the path that leads to his own demise.

All these examples and evidences are found to firmly support the idea that free will is what, in the end, creates destiny.

WARNING!
COUNTER-ARGUMENTS
AHEAD
"Ah! Jondrette Thenardier, vile knave! Let this be a lesson to you, peddler of secrets, trader in mysteries, fumbler in the dark, wretch! Take these five hundred francs, and leave this place!" (pg 586)
Full transcript