How does the author of Local Girls develop the theme of fate and destiny?

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Local Girls is a collection of fifteen short stories that were written by Alice Hoffman . The stories chronicle the major events in the life of the main character, Gretel Samuelson. Fate and destiny are two of the central issues that Hoffman explores in this novel. She does so by...

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Local Girls is a collection of fifteen short stories that were written by Alice Hoffman. The stories chronicle the major events in the life of the main character, Gretel Samuelson. Fate and destiny are two of the central issues that Hoffman explores in this novel. She does so by employing a kind of "magical realism" in her writing. We see this throughout Local Girls as Hoffman tells us about various miracles that occur and signs that Gretel and the other characters follow.

For example, in one story, Gretel's grandmother asks that her life be taken so that her daughter Frances can live. Without delay, the grandmother dies and Frances's cancer goes into remission. Events like this happen often throughout the collection of stories. However, that isn't to say that miracles make Greta's life any better overall. She loses her mother, her brother, and her grandmother over the course of the novel. Additionally, Gretel is estranged from her best friend and father.

So, essentially, miracles do occur when Gretel and others ask for them. However, those miracles do little change the circumstances of Gretel's life in the long run. Hoffman uses this tension masterfully to explore the themes of fate and destiny. She seems to suggest that even with the introduction of miracles, life will work itself out the way it was always supposed to. This makes it seem like our destinies our preordained and immovable.

This isn't entirely negative, though. For example, the collection ends with Hoffman reuniting Gretel with her childhood friend Jill. This action serves as a sort of homage to the sustaining power of friendship—or, taken broader, to the idea that two people who are meant to be together will, in the end, be together. In the end, Hoffman shows us through her usage of miracles that destiny and fate cannot be outwitted. Rather, a life unfolds organically, as it is meant to.

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