Episode six of Kino’s Journey is a high mark for me—it’s a compelling episode that’s difficult to watch, one that’s full of mystery yet tidied up by the end in all but the question it poses us about luck or fate (or if you have a faith, God). Kino is barely present in the episode, only appearing at the beginning where she stumbled upon the final scene of the story shown in the episode, and near the end as well. Instead, the episode centers on a slave girl later named Photo, and her short time living with her owners.
Photo is treated very poorly by her owners, even by the children in the traveling family of merchants. Yet, both the slave and her owners share a similar worldview, which is that the world is what you make of it, or at least what others make of it for you. Photo, for instance, believe she’s been sold for a reason, and that she has to use this time to make a future for herself. However, these worldviews are thrown for a loop when the clan is poisoned by an herb growing on the mountaintop where they’ve made camp. Everyone dies except for Photo. Why does she live and the others do not? Is it her fault that they died? Her motorad doesn’t think so, even if she does.
Another character in the episode that speaks for the idea that control isn’t in our hands is the guard. Earlier in the episode, he mentioned that it’s only by luck that Photo is a slave and the others are thriving. Later, perhaps because of fate or perhaps because he planned in that way (probably the latter), the guard frees Photo before using her to kill himself. Again, Photo has no control over the situation. Kino also wonders if fate has something to do with it, backtracking on her unsympathetic claim about the slaveowner’s ignorance leading to their demise, and wondering if she’ll have the proper knowledge to survive when the right time comes.
Although the guard speaks of luck, I think maybe some of what he means is the situation. Photo is the victim of circumstances that are created by difficult situations and horrible people. Situations have some modicum of control in our lives, and our own actions do as well. But is there an outside force—fate, destiny, luck, God—that has some control as well? How much? And in what ways?
That’s today’s question—please leave your comments below:
What role does the supernatural (ex. God, luck, fate) play in the control you have over your own life?
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