Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Chapter 2: A First Time For Everything
Written by Amanda
Edited by Rose/Krystal
Sunday, June 16, 1968
The first time Henry had ever time traveled was magical. It was on his fifth birthday, the day his parents were going to take him to the Field Museum of Natural History. His parents had gotten him all excited about the wonders that the museum held and his mother had even brought back a brilliant blue butterfly from Syndney, as a gift. Staring at that beautiful blue gave Henry a sense of unity, oblivion, and mindlessness. It was something that he’d spend the next twenty-three years of his life searching for, only to find it again in Clare.
That morning, Henry woke up before dawn, extremely excited and sat on the landing outside until his parents awoke. As his parent got ready, Henry sat on his parent’s bed, trying to read a musical score. Henry, unlike his parents, was not musically adept, but his parents still hoped for some hidden talent. Before long, his mother and father share a moment as they sing and dance with him, but then the phone rang and the scene dissolved. When his parents were finally ready, they were on their way.
Read the rest of the summary HERE.
Henry: Here all of nature was captured, labeled, arranged according to a logic that seemed as timeless as if ordered by God, perhaps a God who had mislaid the original paperwork on Creation and had requested the Field Museum staff to help Him out and keep track of it all. For my five-year-old self, who could derive rapture from a single butterfly, to walk through the Field Museum was to walk through Eden and see all that passed there. (Page 27)
Henry: The museum was dark, cold, and old, and this heightened the sense of suspension, of time and death brought to a halt inside its walls. (Page 27)
Henry: At five I am happy, cushioned in normality and the arms of my parents. Everything changed, starting now. (Page 31)
Henry: I woke up in the morning and it was all a wonderful dream. Mom laughed and said that time travel sounded fun, and she wanted to try it, too.
That was the first time. (Page 36)
Questions for discussion:
When the 5 year-old Henry meets his 24 year-old version, he merely asks where he is and who Henry is. Did it strike you as odd that he didn’t seem more frightened?
Why do you think that Henry’s 24 year-old self choose to give himself a tour of the museum? Do you think that this experience is what made him so interested in books and secured his future job as a librarian?
How do you feel about the difference in Henry’s childhood versus the way we see him as an adult with Clare in chapter 1?
If you could travel back in time and meet a five year-old version of yourself, what would you say to yourself? Would you attempt to change the course of history with any profound statements?
Is there something you noticed in this chapter that you’d like to discuss with the book club?
Read and discuss more HERE.