View Full Version : Free Will and Desperation

02-21-2013, 08:05 AM
Climax and resolution of the novel Desperation to be main subject: Read no further if you have not finished this book.
For all other stories you might wish to reference, please cover any spoilers.

Is God cruel? Is nature consistent with human dignity? Are the abstract principles of freedom, love, and justice even theoretically compatible?
I believe these questions are central to Stephen King's Desperation. I don't think we're likely to answer all of them once and for all, but maybe we can achieve consensus about whether the author reached solid conclusions with/within this work and/or The Dark Tower, and whether it might have been better writing to have more definitively or less definitively demonstrated an ultimate position thereupon. (Although, probably, we never will. Isn't the internet fun?)

02-21-2013, 08:28 AM
offhand, I can answer all the three questions with a "no"; but it's my own point of view. Got to re-read Desperation now to refresh King's (or at least my perception of King's)

02-21-2013, 08:52 AM
Maybe someone will kindly look up Iwritecode's question (http://www.thedarktower.org/palaver/showthread.php?14982-Your-Ranking-of-King-s-Books&p=757545&viewfull=1#post757545) for starters. I'm hoping to preserve the rankings thread for rankings.

02-21-2013, 12:49 PM
I'll re-post it just so it's here.

It's been a while since I've read Desperation but does God actually resolve the plot? I seem to remember Johnny finding the hall pass in his pocket and giving it to David. But I thought the plot resolution was Johnny choosing to go down the hole and blow it up.

02-21-2013, 04:23 PM
offhand, I can answer all the three questions with a "no"; but it's my own point of view.Trying to make sense of this, for though they are related questions, I didn't compose them to directly correspond: on the surface, no to all three would seem to involve some contradictions.
You once argued (circa 2006) that what King intended (or perhaps even what David intended) to convey with "God is cruel" was merely that He is cruel in a particular sense of our perception. But I can certainly understand you saying "No." to simply indicate "Not in the literal sense."
This, then, might fly in the face of no to compatibility among freedom, love, and justice. I would argue that they can be harmonized. Where there is no justice, there is injustice. In theory, it is naturally cruel to permit injustice. But then I also remembered that you believe God chooses love over justice, as they do in fact stand in conflict. Really more choice of emphasis separating your outlook and mine, I think, bearing similar end results just differently described.
Most unclear is if you mean to affirm inconsistency between nature and human dignity. Granting there is a God and He is Creator, is it not cruel or unloving to further grant that the creation may trample on personal determination? I begin to speculate that you're instead identifying the term "nature" with the fallen state of the world. Yet it remains difficult to get around the idea God can be at least ruthless, if not patently cruel, in pursuing His purpose, or at the very least that He is tough in countenancing the resistance. Even needing still to refresh my own memory with another close look at the text of this novel, I'm confident this idea is quite relevant to the themes. Of course, we already have a Town Commons thread on its role in the folklore & mythology of the Tower series. *Thru this link to TDT spoilers!* (http://www.thedarktower.org/palaver/showthread.php?9265-ka-Gan-**Spoilers-entire-series**) Desperation is most overt, though, as I recall.
And I still don't believe this treatment oversimplifies the subject or takes God's goodness for granted as a plot device. I give it a lot of credit for exploring deep issues in pretty impressive ways.