The Time Traveler's Wife ~ pages 1 - 109

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awelker
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The Time Traveler's Wife ~ pages 1 - 109

Post by awelker » 01 Jun 2007, 14:50

There isn't really a set number of chapters so i thought it would just be easier to go by page numbers. So i figured that if you read to page 109, its the start of a chapter, well sort of a chapter.
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Post by knightss » 10 Jun 2007, 22:23

June's nominated book is The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


Reviews:
http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews/1931561648.asp

We will be breaking this book down into 100 page segments (or the closest chapter to the 100 page mark). Now you may ask, "But Derek, There are 546 pages in this book! 546 is not divisible by 100!" Well thank you my young mathematicians, i know. The last segment will be the remaining pages and will include a final thoughts discussion.

Although I hate admitting it, this love story is actually sucking me in =x. Normally this book would never be found on my bookshelf. I hope you are enjoying it too. Relax, you can add your opinions for this section any time you like, even if you pick up the book when we are almost finished.

Questions:

How do you feel about the small debate about free will and determinism?

If you had the choice of traveling through time but you were unable to alter anything (just like Henry) would you do it? Do you think, given the option to time travel or just be a normal non-time traveling human, Henry would choose to remain the way he is?

I was a little disturbed by the fact that when he was younger, Henry would go back in time and have sexual relations with himself... If i had the power to travel back in time, i'm pretty sure i wouldn't do that. Was this section added to put some more controversy into the book? Was it necessary?

Have you read Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut? Do you feel that if Henry and Billy Pilgrim (main character from SH5) were real people instead of fictional characters that they both shared the same disorder or disease?


That's about all for now, if i think of anything else along the line i will add new posts. If you want to ask the other readers questions of your own, feel free.
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Post by sleepydumpling » 11 Jun 2007, 00:51

I was a little disturbed by the fact that when he was younger, Henry would go back in time and have sexual relations with himself... If i had the power to travel back in time, i'm pretty sure i wouldn't do that. Was this section added to put some more controversy into the book? Was it necessary?
I actually found that passage a little bit of an eye opener, some good food for thought. I think most people, in Henry's situation, would go where Henry did! That is, if having "yourself" with you was an every day occurance. How is it any different to masturbation?

I don't think Niffenegger put it in there to inject controversy, I think she shows some incredible perception in what Henry's life was like. After all, he's a normal teenage boy in all other ways, despite his time travelling, and there is no way that a teenage boy would not think of such a thing if he was living the life Henry was! Teenagers ARE hormonal, they DO explore their sexuality... and while I find the thought a little bizarre now as an adult, perhaps as a teenager my thoughts would have been very different!
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Post by knightss » 11 Jun 2007, 05:57

Good point, i guess you don't really know unless you are put in the situation.. i mean those are experimental times in general. i don't know the thought just repulses me a bit.
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Post by sleepydumpling » 11 Jun 2007, 06:32

The thought definitely repulses me as an adult, and also because it's impossible for me to be a teenager and meet myself, but in the circumstances Henry was in... I dunno!
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Post by awelker » 11 Jun 2007, 08:46

I don't think that i would choose to be able to back and forth in time. I mean yea it would be cool for like the first time but after that i would hate it. I like to be surprised about what is going to happen. I love the suspence. There are times where i wish that i could go back into time and change things. but that will never happen so....
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Post by Scott » 12 Jun 2007, 15:45

I love the way the book is narrated, so that separate characters take turns telling the story. I remember a series I use to read as a kid did that - Animorphs.

About going back in time to have relations with myself. The fact that it is homosexual repulses me*, but the fact that it would be myself is just unfathomable. I can't imagine it.

*No offense to homosexual people; I have no problem with them. I'm just turned off by the thought of personally having sex with another man myself.
knightss wrote:If you had the choice of traveling through time but you were unable to alter anything (just like Henry) would you do it? Do you think, given the option to time travel or just be a normal non-time traveling human, Henry would choose to remain the way he is?
I think Henry wishes he were normal, which is evidenced by how he tries to live as normally as possible. However, if actually given the choice, I doubt he would give up his unusual power. I think most of us have aspects to ourselves that we dislike or whatnot, but I don't think we really would want to change our lives or who we are so significantly. I think we all get emotionally attached to our lives and ourselves.
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Post by andrewswife » 12 Jun 2007, 22:11

Well I have finished the book, so I hope I don't give away anything for anybody else. I really enjoyed it, I can't imagine keeping track of the whole story line while writing the book.
I agree with you all that Henry's homosexual experience with himself is a bit odd. I had to read through that part again to make sure I understood it right. And he says "I think most people would do this, if they had the sort of opportunities I have." That just makes me wonder how many people really would. (and I actually spent the rest of the book waiting for two Henry's to try and have Clare at one time) Anyway, while the choice of event is interesting, I think it's important because Henry's dad catches him with himself, and then afterwards he argues with himself about letting it happen because he knew it would happen. This is a reoccurring dilema throughout the whole book. Should you try and stop or change things that will happen?
I am really torn on whether I'd want to time travel or not. If I couldn't change things I wouldn't want, just because there is so much stuff I'd rather not relive. But if I could change things, based on the wisdom I have gained from those exact experiences I would do it. But of course then I'd never have learned those things, so it's a vicious circle.
I think that if Henry were given a choice to time-travel or not he would still choose to do it. Clare met Henry when she was 6, but Henry didn't meet Clare until he was 28. If Henry hadn't been time-traveling to Clare throughout her adolescents she never would have known him, and maybe their meeting in the library would have only ever been him helping her find the books she wanted. And even if Henry were given the choice to stop time traveling after meeting Clare when he is 28, and they were still somehow able to retain the memories she had gained from her experiences with him, although they would never happen, I don't think Henry would give it up because he would want to experience all that himself because that is where he learns who Clare is. I hope that makes sense.
I'll stop now, I look forward to being able to discuss the book as a whole.

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Post by Scott » 13 Jun 2007, 09:59

andrewswife wrote:I think it's important because Henry's dad catches him with himself, and then afterwards he argues with himself about letting it happen because he knew it would happen. This is a reoccurring dilema throughout the whole book. Should you try and stop or change things that will happen?
I also think that is interesting. It was also one of those passages I had to read over again to make sure I understood what happened.

Anyway, I think what's most interesting is that by trying to warn himself about it he actually helped cause it.

I also see it like raising children. Sometimes you have to let children or students make mistakes so that they learn. The children don't learn if you coddle them and overprotect them. For the same reason, it would be worse in the long run for Henry to protect himself from embarrassing moments and such.
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Post by bibliolatrist » 14 Jun 2007, 06:43

andrewswife wrote: Anyway, while the choice of event is interesting, I think it's important because Henry's dad catches him with himself, and then afterwards he argues with himself about letting it happen because he knew it would happen. This is a reoccurring dilema throughout the whole book. Should you try and stop or change things that will happen?
I think this question tackles an important element of narrative decision-making as well. Niffenegger would probably have had a hell of a time had she created a situation in which it was possible to change the past and I couldn't imagine doing so would not be utterly difficult for the writer and confusing for the reader. So while the decision to make Henry unable to change the past raises some interesting philosophical questions, it's also a wise decision author-wise, as well. Or maybe that's just me. :)

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Post by Scott » 14 Jun 2007, 13:32

I like Niffenegger's laws of time travel more than the laws of any other sci-fi universe. Her characters from the future can affect the past, but yet everything only happens once. So, everything has to be consistent. Often unwittingly, Henry's activity in the past helps cause the future he knows. What is weird is sometimes it seems if Henry doesn't travel to the past things wouldn't work out the same. What if he hadn't gone back and taught himself to pickpocket? I doubt he and Clare would have the same relationship if he hadn't Clare hadn't met Henry when she was 6.

Luckily, Niffenegger disallows paradoxical events. Her universe still obeys some laws of causality and consistency. For example, Henry couldn't go back in time and kill his father before Henry's birth.
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Post by knightss » 14 Jun 2007, 15:58

Well.. she seems to be using the theory that although we have a concept of time, time doesn't really exist. What will happen in our future has already happen what has happened in the past happened before we even experienced it. Time is something perceived by the mind.
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Post by Dando » 10 Dec 2014, 07:58

I realize that this is a very old thread, but I have just read the book and wanted to check it out on the forum!

In regards to the Henry on Henry scene, it isn’t “homosexual,” it is just very resourceful masturbation. And I think the line about most people doing it if they were in his shoes is there to make us really stop and think about the act. Niffenegger understood that most people would likely be shocked and possibly repulsed upon first reading this passage so she adds this qualifier to show us that this isn’t anymore disgusting than any other act of masturbation. Thus, Henry is saying that if you masturbate (or have ever done so), then you would likely do the same in similar circumstances.

Would I time travel? Definitely not like Henry does, it sounds terrible. Maybe under safer, more controlled circumstances…
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Post by Karan7145 » 17 Nov 2019, 01:26

I love this book story especially how love is shown between the couples but the writer did it very well and I love this book every time I read

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Post by winecellarlibrary » 07 Dec 2019, 11:48

If I could travel back and forth in time, by choice, I would definitely do it. However, he doesn't have a choice about when he will travel, or where (in setting and in time) he will travel to. This wouldn't be so bad if he didn't arrive stark naked and starving every time.

Henry has been like this almost as long as he can remember. I think it is his "normal." I don't think he would change it, not now that he has adapted to it. Otherwise, he may never have met Claire.

In the scene with his two 15-year-old selves, I did not take it to mean he was having sexual relations with himself. I took it as a mutual masturbation thing. I think the author made it vague enough for you to fill in the blanks. He is certainly not the first male I have heard of to masturbate with someone else or in a group. Even if it is sexual relations, it's not much different than masturbation because it is his own body.

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