Theme of Survival in Niffenegger's Time Traveler's Wife and Wells' Time Machine

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Read the extract from The Time Traveler’s Wife that begins on page 398 from ‘Henry is sleeping, bruised and caked with blood’ to ‘anguish together’. Using integrated linguistic and literary approaches analyse Niffenegger’s presentation of Henry in this extract. Go on to compare the presentation of survival elsewhere in The Time Traveler’s Wife and in The Time Machine.

Both The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Niffenegger and in The Time Machine by Wells present the reader with the idea of time travel despite being written almost 200 years apart. Niffenegger, however, as a modern writer with a modern audience, allows her protagonist to travel through time on the whim of a genetic disorder, perhaps picking this method as genetics are at the forefront of modern science. Wells on the other hand, writing at the height of the industrial revolution, has his protagonist create a Time Machine in order to travel to the future, an invention which would intrigue his readers allowing the impossible to merely become the improbable. In both narratives, due to their movement through time, the protagonists face danger and therefore the theme of survival is a prominent one. This extract features towards not only the end of the novel, but also Henry’s life. It is told from Clare’s perspective and therefore we, as a reader, share he anxiety for Henry’s state and her lack of knowledge as to how he came to be in this way. It features within the section “Nature Morte” which in itself hold the foreboding and somewhat foreshadowing noun death though “Morte” though it’s actual translation is “still life”. The piece opens immediately with the rhetorical triple “Henry is sleeping, bruised and caked with blood.” This syndetic list of verbs highlight Clare’s anxiety and immediately draw the reader into her emotions, as we wonder, like Clare how he ended up in this way. This level of anxiety is highlighted through her use of declaratives such as “I get up and make coffee” where the simple every day...
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