September 28 2009 4:23 PM
Comp 111 3:00 pm
There is a general belief that fate and predestination cannot exist as long as people are born with free will and the ability to make their own decisions. In Annie Proulx's story "Tits-Up in a Ditch" the character's lives and their interactions with each other show how the choices people make influence the fate of the lives of others. Things of the past are out of our control, but those things can directly influence our lives. Not only can a single decision determine the fate of one life, it also has the ability to influence the fate of many lives. Therefore the story proves the existence of fate - in that fate is determined by the decisions of others. The lives of the characters in the story outline a "chain of failure". The chain is made up of the decisions the characters make throughout the story which eventually lead to some sort of downfall.
Consider the events that lead to baby Verl's death. Had Dakota decided not to join the army, Baby Verl wouldn't have been left in Bonita and Verl's care. This is the first decision made in a "chain of failure" which would eventually lead to Baby Verl's demise. Next if Dakota hadn't taken Bonita's advice to "name that baby Verl, after your granddad. That'll make him more interested to help the boy" then the senior Verl probably wouldn't have been as proud of the baby and wouldn't have taken as great an interest in raising him. Had Verl not wanted to raise the boy to be tough, then he probably wouldn't have put him in the bed of the truck and killed him. Baby Verl had no say in any of this. He couldn't control the circumstances that eventually led to his death. It was the decisions made by the other characters in the story that helped determine his ultimate fate.
Bonita Lister was forced to work tirelessly to maintain the ranch by herself. She couldn't count on her husband Verl for help because he had sustained many injuries during his days a cowboy in the rodeo. Had Verl not decided to join the rodeo and get himself injured, she wouldn't have to had to carry the workload as much. If the oil companies hadn't "sucked up Wyoming boys, offering higher wages that no one else, not even Wyatt Match, the county's richest rancher, could pay", then they might have been able to hire some help to maintain the ranch. But Bonita couldn't control how much work Verl could do anymore than she could control how much the oil companies would pay their employees. Bonita's life of hard work was directly influenced by the choices of others.
The story demonstrates how one character's decision can directly influence another character's, but the story also shows how the same effect can stem from people who are not in the story. Dakota's experiences in the military show how these external forces factor into Dakota's fate. Sure it was Dakota's decision to join the military, but it was the President who decided to go to war with Iraq which lead to her vehicle getting bombed. The President's decision to send troops into Iraq is one part of a very broad "chain of failure". There were probably many different factors and decisions that weighed in the Presidents final decision to go to war.