Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger Discussion (Spoilers Included)

The Time Traveler's Wife has a great reading group discussion guide at the back of the book and I am going to go through and answer some of those questions using the novel.

You have been warned there is spoilers in this post. So don't read this post if you have not read the book. If you have read the book chime in with your answers below. 

The question will be in bold my answer will be in regular text. 

On the novel's first page Clare declares, "I wait for Henry." In what way does this define her character and how is the theme of waiting developed throughout the book?

Clare is the true definetion of a woman who waits. Clare literally spends her whole life waiting for Henry. In some ways I'm sad that Clare wasn't able to have a normal life, but in other respects she was lucky. She met her soul-mate at six. Even after Henry dies Clare continues to wait for him to come back because he told her that he would be back when she is 82. Waiting is the biggest theme of this novel. Clare waits for her future, she waits for Henry, and she waits for a baby. Waiting is how I would define Clare as a character.

What keeps these characters from being stereotypes? In what ways does the author give them depth? For example at what points in the book do Henry and Clare reverse roles? 

From what I just said about Clare up there she is definetly a stereotype, but Clare also has depth as a character. One of the ways she has depth is the fact that she is willing to stand up to Henry to fight for what she wants. In this novel Clare wants to have her own biological child and Henry just doesn't want to go through with it anymore. Henry gets a vasectomy, but Clare gets pregnant by a younger Henry so they do end up having, Alba. Henry is very unpredictable especially in his young age, but he is also a loving caring man. He would do anything not to time travel. He would do anything to protect Clare from what he knows is going to happen. I think that is what truly gives Henry depth as a character. The end of the book Clare states that she feels like the one who is time traveling now. After Henry dies Clare never fully feels like she is in the present. She feels like she is just floating through life in a blur. 

How does Henry's time Travel affect Clare? How is Clare affected by meeting her future husband at the age of six? How does the author manage to make their relationship seem eccentric and enchanged rather than sinister?

Henry's time traveling has affected every aspect of Clare's life. She has know Henry her whole life. It affect her childhood, adolecent, and adulthood. Emotionally Clare loves the time traveling until she meets Henry in the present then she wishes it would just stop. Clare finds the time traveling very hard in her adult life because she doesn't know how long he will be gone, where he is, and if he is safe. Clare had a lot of problems in her teenage years with bullying because she had never gone on a date. Clare knew that she was meant to be with Henry, but she went on some dates to prove people wrong and she suffered pretty suffer consequences because of that one date with the stuck up jock. Henry changed Clare's whole life at the age of six. If you saw a 30 year old man hanging out with a six year old you would think that is just wrong. The reason we don't see it that way with Henry and Clare is because we know Henry is a good person and he would never hurt Clare. We know that they end up together in the future. We find their love very exciting rather than sinister. 

How has the death of Henry's mother helped shape him?

Henry has been forced to watch his mother die hundreds of times knowing every time that there is nothing he can do to change what happened. Henry's mother died on Christmas eve which has led Henry to a dislike of Christmas. Henry's father mourns the death of Henry's mother every day of his life and he never truly got over her. The death of Henry's mother gave him a whole different life. He grew up with a father that wasn't really there. A father that was too lost in his own grieve to realize his son needed him to be there. Henry lost a person that was important to him and I don't think you can ever be the same after losing somebody important to you. 

What role does the characters' knowledge and the gaps in their knowledge play in the novel?

When Clare meets Henry at the age of 28 years old in the present she already knows a lot about him and Henry knows nothing about Clare. Henry time traveling to Clare's past has happened yet, but for Clare she has already know Henry her whole life. The author is always filling us in on missing pieces of the puzzle as Henry and Clare go through there life. Henry knows things that are going to happen that he doesn't tell Clare about such as his death. Clare knows things about Henry that he has yet to discover. It plays a significant role in this novel.

Discuss Henry's observation that " there is only free will when you are in time, in the present." 

Henry's idea is that there is no changing the past that is already written, but you still have a choice as to what will happen in the future. When they are shopping for houses Clare goes shopping by herself and when she tells Henry she says that they will find the right house anyways and she wants to believe for once in her life that everything isn't up to fate. 

What is the List that Henry makes for Clare and how does it give the book dramatic momentum? 

The list is all the dates that Henry comes to visit Clare in the meadow. I noticed this time around that there were a couple times when Henry came to the meadow at a date that wasn't on the list and those seemed to be the dates where something bad happened to Henry such as the day of his death. When it came to the end of the list and Henry and Clare embarked on their two year separation I was sad that Clare would not see Henry for the next two years while Henry would see Clare in his present life. 

How does Henry and Clare's relationship change following their marriage? How is it affected by their desire for a child? 

 After their marriage Henry and Clare were a pretty normal couple besides the fact that Henry was always popping in and out. Their desire for a child created a lot of trouble in their marriage as when it was time to quit trying. Clare wanted to keep going and Henry thought it was time to give up. 

How does the author use time travel as a metaphor: for love, for loss and absence, for fate, for aging, for death? To what extent are Clare and Henry a normal couple?

Clare and Henry have a love that conquers all. Their love has truly survived the test of time. Time travel has made both of their lives not normal, but Clare and Henry are normal couple. They go through normal struggles of life. Time travel becomes a metaphor for many things throughout this novel and it makes you wonder about love over time, how we long for one when they are gone, is our life all up to fate or do we have free will, are we really always one age or are we many ages at once, and how do the people who are left behind feel after ones death. There is a lot of foreshadowing and depth to this novel that make it such a wonderful novel.

My favorite scenes of this novel are the wedding scene because I love the fact that Clare marries the Henry she knows from her childhood and the present Henry comes back later. My second favorite part is when Henry visits Alba when they are on a class field trip. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi my name is Rachael and I want to thank you for commenting on my blog. I appreciate every single comment I receive and I reply back to all comments.