The explicit mention of fate occurs only once in regard to Dave Boyle in Dennis Lehane's Mystic River, but the battle between fate and free will in his life is evident throughout the novel. Dave Boyle, a tragic character, has little free will to change the pre-determined forces that have shaped his life. The opening line of the novel When Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus were kids reflects the plotline and the characters. This opening fatefully situates Dave Boyle into the slot of a less significant person. Before he peaked as a baseball star in high school, he was the sort of kid who was only invited to the movies because he knew all of the lines and could recite them as entertainment, not because anyone particularly liked him.
[...] Every option of apparent free will led Dave . Dave chose to tag along with Jimmy Marcus on those Saturdays when they were young. If Dave had not exercised this free will he may have not been abducted by wolves. Dave chose to marry Celeste, another exercise of free will. If Dave married a more trusting woman, who was not always trying to escape her life or pretend she was a better person; his wife may not have told Jimmy Marcus she felt her husband had killed his daughter. [...]
[...] And he had stilled the monster inside of him, the freak who longed to touch a young boys hand and melt into his embrace in killing someone he had killed that weak part of himself.” Dave flirted with free will in an attempt to rid himself of the boy who escaped from wolves and the pedophile that he kept within himself. It appears that this murder was in fact free will, but it was also fated to decide his life. [...]
[...] It was a decision made by free will that caused Dave Boyle to be at Sean Devine's house with Jimmy Marcus that fateful day. He chose to go, he chose to be there. When Dave was “stolen by wolves” as a young boy he felt as if he was fated to get into the car. He realized this shortly after his abduction, when he heard the men discussing that they knew that neither Sean nor Jimmy would have stepped foot in the car. When Dave escaped it was not his fate, but his free will that helped him. [...]
[...] Hurting someone it makes you feel alone it makes you feel alien.” One of the most significant realizations of Dave's battle between fate and free will occurs when Dave Boyle was thinking of his son and the innocence that possesses him. son was small for seven, and far too trusting for this world. You could see it in the openness of his face, the glow of hope in the set of his blue eyes. Dave loved that in his son, but he hated it too.” Dave goes on to note the family curse; tender, breakable thing in his son was a Boyle curse and his own blue eyes were vivid and innocent.” Dave knows that despite the fact that his innocence was taken from him a long time ago, his eyes still reflect innocence. [...]
using our reader.