It's the Cause and Ultimate Source of Hope

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            Niffenegger has created a novel based on an unbelievable premise that speaks ultimately to the most basic human experience - love. The idea of a man who can travel through time and exist as both himself in the "present" and as the time traveler in the same place at the same time stretches the idea of plausible to its breaking point. The emotions, however, that her characters experience make The Time Traveler's Wife a novel to which the average non-time traveling human can associate. The complications associated with families, friends, and marriage are all familiar and an integral part of the human experience. The intense feelings of loss and hope that permeate through the novel are expressed deeply as the family tries to deal with the amputation of Henry's legs: "Alba is chattering to Teddy in her room. For a moment I feel as though I've time traveled, as though this is some stray moment from before, but then I let my eyes travel down Henry's body to the flatnesses at the end of the blanket, and I know that I am only here and now" (Niffenegger 482). It is ironic that in this passage, time traveling serves as the culprit of Henry's disability and later death, but it is also a source of hope for Clare. It offers an opportunity to escape from the harsh reality of the present and enter into, if even for a short time, a different reality past or future.

 

 

2 Comments

Sue said:

I wondered how he was able to time travel everywhere and run into himself as well. But I guess if he knows that he time travels it won't mess everything up because he already knows that it happens. I guess when I kept reading this I thought about Back to the Future and how Doc repeatedly says that they can't meet their future self at all cost because everything will just go crazy.

Jessica Bitar said:

I agree with you that the novel is based on love. Clare and Henry have to have a very strong bond of love to be able to stay together for so long and throughout Henry's time travel. I can't find the page but I remember Clare saying something to the effect of "Why does absence intensify love?" (or something like that) This helps demonstrate how much she loves Henry.

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