The theme of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffengegger is that love can withstand any barriers that life may hold. In the prologue, Clare asks “Why is love intensified by absence?” It is almost like the author planted the seed in the reader’s mind and let it grow throughout the novel by feeding the reader with the experiences and details about Claire and Henry’s life. Henry has been “time traveling” for as long as Clare can remember. As an older man, he traveled back in time to Clare when she was a little girl. She grew up waiting for his visits. Later on in her life, she meets Henry, but before Henry went back in time to see Clare as a child, so he does not recognize her, but something inside him knows her, and they end up falling in love. The author portrays this theme not by answering the question directly, but by showing how Clare and Henry’s love intensifies as they grow older and as their experiences develop.
Clare speaks a lot about how she worries about Henry when he is pulled away from the present to explore the past. Clare falls in love with Henry at a very young age. When Henry gives Clare a list of all the days and times that he will be visiting Clare over the course of years, she longs for his visits. “Today isn’t a Henry day; the next one is twenty-two days away… All my life I have pretty much just accepted Henry as no big deal; that is although Henry is a secret and therefore automatically fascinating…” She knows exactly how many days away it is until Henry comes for another visit; on any ordinary day. It is almost like she lives from visit to visit, and she feels stronger every time he comes. When Clare is 13, she is in the meadow, in the middle of a storm, thinking of Henry: “…I suddenly feel that Henry is there, an incredible need for Henry to be there and to put his hands on me even while it seems to me that Henry is the rain and I am alone and wanting him.” Clare is only 13 and already feels so close to Henry that she can feel him...
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