Was Jimmy's daughter destined to die?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the most powerful elements of the novel is the basic idea that human beings own the responsibility for actions and what happens as a result of them.  Crime and criminal activity are shown to exist in the world, but how individuals appropriate this is what defines them, as opposed to the criminal activity.  For example, Dave is the victim of a fairly horrific crime.  One of its impacts is the need it creates in him to molest others, something over which he takes control and something for which he assumes responsibility.  In much the same way, Jimmy's daughter was not destined to die, as much as she was a victim of terrible misfortune.  Jimmy does not believe that it was destiny, for he believed that someone was responsible and someone will pay for it.  In this case, Dave was the target of this anger.  I think that his reaction shows that he, also, fails to believe in divine ordinance, but rather understands that criminal activity, something that he does, is an action of the individual and there is a level of responsibility that must be assumed for it.  In this, divine assignation is not as important as individual understanding of the role of human action.

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Mystic River

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