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Time Traveler's Wife

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Andrew Cheng

on 17 December 2013

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Transcript of Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
Grew up in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois.
She teaches writing, letterpress printing, lithography, intaglio, and book making at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts as well, and she teaches printmaking at the North Shore Art League.
In 2003, Niffenegger's debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, became an instant bestseller
Niffenegger is also the author and illustrator of The Three Incestuous Sisters (2005)
In September 2009, Niffenegger published Her Fearful Symmetry,
The Time Traveler's Wife
Andrew Cheng
My name is Andrew Cheng and before I enrolled to my literature class I really did not read that much. In fact I only read a book when it is a must, like being assigned by a teacher to read a specific book for school work. However in this class I came to like reading a little because of the interesting short stories that were assigned to be read. Now for the final project I tried reading a novel titled "The Time Traveler's Wife" which proved to be interesting. It is because I really liked sci-fi stories that is close to reality somehow and heard that this book is a classic story. Which lead me to choosing it for the final project.
Generally, The Time's Traveler's Wife is about the lives of Henry and Clare whose lives is very unique from the normal couple. It is due to the fact that Henry is able to time travel however unconsciously while Clare is just an average woman. The book is about how they fight for their love for each other despite Henry's condition of suddenly disappearing and time traveling. I personally liked the book for the twists and turn of where Henry time travels and unravels their past, how they met and what happens in the future. It made me curious of how will things work out between them and whether or not Henry's condition will be cured.
Audrey Niffenegger is said to have been able to marry two of her passions together, her art and her writing in an interview with her. It is clear in the interview being able to combine them is greatly pleasing to her. However in this book she is said to have been frustrated in love when she began to work and wrote the story as a metaphor for her failed relationships. Thus I think is one of her inspiration in writing the novel.
The original setting of the story seems to be in the year 1960's in Chicago when Henry was a kid since he was born on 1963 and it was when Henry started to time travel at the age of six. Then it seemed to be at the year 1990's when Henry matured and finally met his wife Clare at the Newberry library in Chicago. Although, because Henry time travels the setting change from time to time but goes back to the year 1990's where he is originally from. Another important setting is where he Henry first met Clare which is the meadow in South Heaven in which this place holds a lot of good memories for them.
I think the setting in the 1990's affect the element of the story in a way that it makes the story very easy to relate to and the places imaginable to the reader. It also affects the mood of the story in a way I noticed that when they are happy the weather is warm and sunny however if there are sad happenings most of the time it snows. So I think the setting in the year 1990's is a good choice.
If the setting would have been changed however I think it would have been different. Like the meadow changed I mean for me it would not be the same special spot that fits the story right. Furthermore changing the year for me like going back to the 1960 seems wrong since most of the reader would not be able to relate because of the time gap.
Similarities I found between Audrey Niffenegger and her characters.
Same location as her character which is at Chicago.
Same job as Clare who is also an artist.
Audrey loved to travel which relates to why Henry time travels.
The story started in the present time in Newberry Library where Henry was 28 years old and first met Clare who was 20 years old for the first time. Although it was not the first time for Clare because he already met the 35 year old Henry from the future. Thus Henry has not met Clare yet until he reach 35 years old. This seem to be the exposition for me because this is where they get to know each other and first encountered one another in the book.
This is the time where they fell in love which each other and Henry proposed to Clare. In which Clare says a big yes and they finally got married. This is also the time where Clare keeps on getting miscarriages because of Henry's genetic problem which makes the baby time travel too. Which led Henry to get a vasectomy so that Clare would not get pregnant anymore leading to a fight between them. However, Clare would still get pregnant from a younger Henry.
The climax started when Henry and Clare saw an older Henry lying inside their house wounded from a gun shot. It is because of that Henry started to become aware and finally he slowly started to time travel a lot causing his feet to be amputated in one of his travel. Then at the end he felt he was going to die and spend the rest of his time with his loved ones. Then during his time travel, he was accidentally shot by Clare's brother who was hunting with their father thus leading to his death
Falling Action
Clare and Alba continued their lives while Clare is still constantly waiting for Henry from another time to time travel to her time to get to see him even for just a moment.
Henry time traveled to a time where Clare was 82 years old. Clare waited for Henry her whole life even after his death and when they finally met she was overwhelmed with joy and said that she has waited everyday for him and believed that he will come.
I think the turning point of the novel was when they found out that Henry's foot will be amputated. It is because Henry could not run anymore when he randomly time travels. Which lead to certainty that he would in fact die in one of his time travel because he could not run.
Yes, the novel involved a lot of flashbacks and in some event even foresee what would happen in the future. Example is knowing that he would die at some point. Another is where he sees happenings in the past.
For me this novel is really unique. It is because I am not really a fan of romantic book. Furthermore, it was unique in a sense that the ability to time travel was shown to be a misfortune rather than a gift. It showed a different negative side that I never thought about before
Henry DeTamble
Static - His personality and attitude did not change up until the end of the story and he is still unable to control his time traveling up to his death.
Clare Abshire
Static - Her personality and attitude did not change also. From her childhood up until her old age she always waiting for Henry to come and see her. She always had faith in Henry that he would come to see her and that he would come eventually even after Henry died.
Secondary Characters
Main Characters
Lucile Abshire
Philip Abshire
Mark Abshire
Alicia Abshire
Dr. Amit Montague
Grandma Meagram
Great Aunt Ducile
Annette DeTamble
Richard DeTamble
Mrs. Kim
Dr Kendrick Ben
They are linked to the main characters in a way that they somehow affect how they feel. Like their loved ones or friend whom they go to in their needs. An example is Dr. Kendrick who gave Henry and Clare hope that Henry's disorder could be lessened like by not drinking alcohol etc.
Somehow I empathize with Henry, although not like time traveling I understand how hard it is to leave your love one suddenly to do something. Like having to attend family meetings or having to do school work. Being too busy to spend time with someone who is important to you and missing out important events in their life is sometimes heart-breaking.
A similarity I found between the novel and the literary text we have taken up is Clare and the Old man from the story the Old man with enormous wings. It is because I found them similarly very patient that a normal person does not have the patience to do so. They are patient and dedicated in what they plan and want to happen.
There were three conflict in the story. First is man against nature. It is because Henry could not find a way to stop time traveling and struggles in his relationships because of that. Second is man against self. It is because Henry's time traveling somehow bothers him and until he met Clare he felt lonely wanting to change the past where his mother died. Third is man against man wherein Henry and Clare argued with each other when Clare wanted to have her own child but always ends up being a miscarriage.
The conflict first started between when they were going to buy a house, they argued which house to buy because Henry already saw their house in the future and wanted it to be just like that. They also quarreled about wanting a baby. With six miscarriages Henry decided they should just adopt however Clare wants it to be her own child with Henry as its father. Henry then got vasectomy so that Clare would not be pregnant anymore and have anymore miscarriages. Which led to another big fight. Clare did not had a choice and just gone though it. Although luckily Clare got pregnant from a younger Henry and finally delivered a child named Alba
For me the story was unique and it did not remind me of any movie. The story was really unpredictable and that made me more interested in the story.
The most interesting conflict for me was when they fought about Clare having a miscarriage all the time. Thus leading to Henry getting a vasectomy. It made me wonder if they would still have a child and how their relationship is going to progress after the incident.
The point of view in the novel is first person because the point of view alternates between the two main characters which are Henry and Clare. An example is the line of Clare

"I sometimes wonder if this
readiness, this expectation, prevents the miracle from happening. But I have no choice. He is coming, and I am here"

It is the ending of the story where Clare and Henry finally met after a long time for one last time
I think that if it was told from another point of view it would not have the same impact as it should have. It is because it is mostly at first person where the reader almost feel the same as the characters. Furthermore it also adds up to the suspense being as clueless and unknowing of what will happen next.
The short story "The Use of Force" that was discussed in class uses a first person point of view which is same as "The Time Traveler's Wife".
Clare's Dreams: It symbolizes fear and anxiety because of the time she dreamed that she was a mermaid and she thought the it symbolizes that her wedding with Henry will not come true. Another is where she was haunted by dreams of babies. All five dreams showed disfigured babies. Showing her fear that it might actually happen to her
Henry's Dreams: It symbolizes Helplessness and loss of free will. It is because when Henry dreamed about time traveling and losing his feet. He felt helpless because it was his only means and protection in time traveling. Furthermore, he felt like it is like losing his freedom and free will because without his feet he could not go anywhere he wants.
"I am carrying a baby. As we walk, the baby becomes heavier and heavier, until I can barely life it."
"I can feel that my feet are all broken up like pavement inside my shoes, and then both of my feet break off at the ankles and I fall face-first onto the path."
Henry and Clare's House : It symbolizes security because all his life Henry just wanted to find a place where he fits in. A place that he could call home and always look forward coming home to. In a sense when they finally got their own home, Henry was not lonely anymore because he got a home to return to with someone waiting for him.
I think that the symbols significance is that it lets the reader more curious about what is going to happen next. It is like the writer is giving the readers something to imagine and think about through the symbols. Thus, making the readers predict or assume what would happen later in the story.
The title does in fact give the main idea of the work. It is because The Time Traveler's Wife is basically about the story of Henry and Clare who is the time traveler and his wife which suits the title fine. The names of the characters does not have any symbolic meaning though. However the places like the meadow somehow were appropriate in terms of when they first met nobody else was there to see them because of the place
The title of the novel do have a similar meaning to the short story "Story of an Hour" because it both involved time in the title. However, there were no similarities between the two. Furthermore the names between the novel and the short story did not have any similarities
The whole story is about the love between two people Henry and Clare with a certain twist. Wherein Henry has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably. Then there is Clare an artist and a woman with great patience that is able to keep up with the overwhelming life of Henry. It shows the universal human experience that if you love someone, you would patiently wait for him/her no matter how long it would take.
That love is something to hold on to and something to be treasured. Love is something that requires patience and sacrifices. It is something that we yearn for, that true love and passion that Henry and Clare share; we all want that special someone that you know is always there for you and give meaning to your life.
The theme of the story is about a man who has the ability to time travel and then one day travels back in time then meets a little girl whom he would spend the rest of his life with.
I personally could relate to the theme of the story. In a way that could understand how the characters felt and are going through. Like how it requires sacrifices and effort to make a relationship work. Also the pain when you are not able to be there in an important occasion of someone special to you. Furthermore, I could also relate that love is indeed a powerful emotion that we all need. It is because we all need someone who is there for us. As the saying goes "No man is an Island"
Literature is the art of writing which uses words that may teach the reader something or give them knowledge based on how he/she understood the writings. It also gives the reader something to think about and imagine things about the story to understand it.
Yes, because the novel taught me moral lessons that made me realize a thing or two about love. It also taught me about the hardships one may encounter in life and that no matter what comes your way you just got to face the problems. In addition, it made me something to think about and imagine what if that scenario happens to me. In which case I would know what to do based on what I learned from the story.
Author's Biography
Mark Flanagan (ND). Audrey Niffenegger. [ONLINE] Available at: http://contemporarylit.about.com/od/authorprofiles/p/niffenegger.htm. [Last Accessed December 18, 2013
“The Time Traveler's Wife” retrieved from http://www.shmoop.com/time-travelers-wife/characters.html
Time Traveler's Wife PDF ( Lines from the PDF)
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Ideas for symbolism
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Personally, I thought the novel "The Time Traveler's Wife" is really awesome. In a sense that it always kept me curious on what is going to happen and keeps me interested in reading all through out the book. It kept me wanting to read more and more wanting to find out what is going to happen between Henry and Clare. On how their relationship is going to work-out and how are they going to face their problems that they encounter. I could not compare this novel with any other movie or book I know due to the fact for me it was one of a kind. This novel was really one of the classic for me and I do not regret a single minute reading this book. It made me realize that there is always going to be someone out there for you. That even if your early relationships do not work out, you would eventually find the perfect person for you. It also taught me that no matter what problem you face, you should still look at the positive side of things. Furthermore, it made me value time more, the time I spend with my loved ones and how I should spend my time more wisely. The book made me realize that no matter how many failures I encounter, I should keep on trying until I get what I want and succeed just like Clare. Lastly, I learned that we must be patient in all things because patience is a virtue and good things happen when we wait.
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