Supplemental Viewing—The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a story about a man traveling to different times in his life. The movie starts out by this young boy traveling, but then he meets himself but the older version. Henry, the time traveler, is in the library when he meets Claire. He doesn’t know it, but he has visited Claire his whole life. They end up getting married, and after many attempts to have a child, they end up having a little girl, Alba. Alba is a time traveler as well. The difference between Henry and Alba is that Alba can kind of control when and where she is time traveling. Alba tells her dad when he is going to die. He dies when she says he will, however even after his death, he still travels back to see his sweet daughter and loving wife.

There were two things that Henry said in this movie that related to things we talked about in class over the course of the semester.

  1. “I can’t change what happens to them…it just happens anyways.”   In this particular example, he was talking about trying to save his mother. His mother died as a result of a car crash. He has seen her death multiple times and each time he tries to make things happen differently, but the circumstances are set in time. This quote made me think of two things. The first thing was A Sound of Thunder. In this story, everyone was supposed to stay on the path. In A Sound of Thunder, no one wanted to change anything because it would mess up what happened in the present time. However, the difference between The Time Traveler’s Wife and A Sound of Thunder is that Henry wanted to change what happened, but no matter how hard he tried, he could never change anything. That leads me to the next point. In Slaughterhouse Five, the Tralfmadorians believe that everything that happens has always happened and will never change. This mindset lines up exactly to what Henry said. Even though Henry tried so hard to make all things happen for the best, he knew he would never be able to change anything because everything happens like it happens and no one can change them.
  2. “Knowing things about your life will make you crazy.” Henry said this to Gomez when Gomez asked Henry to prove that he was really a time traveler. He said that in order to prove to him that Henry was a time traveler he needed to tell Gomez something about his life like will he go bald or will his wife go bald. Henry then responded with the quote above. When Henry said his response it made me think about Billy Pilgrim. Billy Pilgrim was somewhat insane. Even his kids worried about him. I had to ask myself “why would knowing things about your life make you crazy?” I thought about Christmas when I was a child. I always knew when Christmas Eve was. I always knew that I was going to have presents when I woke up the next morning, but it always drove me insane to have to wait until Christmas morning to actually get those gifts. I would imagine that this is the feeling that Henry is refering to . After Billy went to the Tralfamadorian planet, he realized that even when he traveled back and forth to different times in his life, he would never be able to change things that happened to him or to people around him. Then he went back home and did all this time traveling. When he returned back to present day, he did seem insane. Even Billy’s daughter thought that he had lost his mind a little. I do think that people knowing things about their future would drive them mad. Billy Pilgrim was a great example of Henry’s statement.
  3. Finally, this movie definitely related to Slaughterhouse Five. In Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, his main character Billy Pilgrim traveled from the present to the future, back to the past, back to the future, then back to present day. Henry also did the same thing. He didn’t just go into the future. He went to the past sometimes (back to the meadow when Claire was a little girl), and he sometimes jumped ahead to the future (when he talked to his daughter at the park/zoo). Billy and Henry are alike, but they are also different. Billy basically lost his mind as he time traveled. He also never really questioned his traveling. He just went with the flow. However, Henry wasn’t so passive. He questioned his time traveling, but he also knew that there was nothing he could do to stop the traveling. So again, there are some connections one could make between Billy and Henry, but they are also very different from one another.

I have seen this movie once or twice before taking this class, but as I watched the movie this time, things were brought to my attention that I haven’t noticed before. I personally thought this movie was sad. Most people would disagree and say that time traveling has to be one of the coolest things ever, but I am looking at it from Claire’s point of view. As Henry’s wife, she just has to accept that he has a condition that there is no cure for. She has to accept the fact that she is alone most of the time. I just find this movie sad and upsetting because it has to be hard on Henry knowing that he doesn’t know when he will travel or where he will travel, and it has to be even harder knowing that he is leaving behind a wife that needs him. Eventually he leaves behind a daughter who needs him as well. However, one thing I did like about this movie was that even after he died, he could still travel and see his wife and child even though he was dead. This movie was definitely different than most movies, but i enjoyed watching The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Abuse

I am a Family and Child Studies Major here at UM, and I have been thinking a lot lately about abuse in relationships, homes, and within families. I have been reading up on signs of abuse and how to recognize abuse. As I was reading about the signs, I focused in on few of the items on this list.

  • Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
  • Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it
  • Threatens you with violence or a weapon
  • Calls you names, insults you or puts you down

When I was skimming over this list, I was reminded of Rufus, Dana, and Alice.Rufus always got mad at Dana when he was drinking alcohol (just like his dad). He also threatened her many times, but usually never did much in terms of actually carrying out her punishment. Towards the end of the book, he began to try and force Dana to have sex with him, even though he knew that was wrong. He also sometimes called her names. 

However, I think that the real abuse went on between Rufus and his lover, Alice. Rufus said all the time he “loved” her, but is forcing someone to sleep with you really considered “love”? It’s not in my book. Also, is “love” treating someone like the scum of the earth and beating them until they are unconscious? No! And love is certainly not calling someone names and belittling them. Alice was abused by Rufus.

After reading over this list and remembering the things that took place in this book, I began thinking how horrible it must have been to have to endure behaviors like this on a daily basis with no alternative. Women today have resources to help them remove themselves from a dangerous situation. They also have confidentiality with someone that can help give them a piece of mind. Alice and Dana were not the only people being abused. 

Women are not the only people that can be abused. Men can be abused by women. It’s very rare we ever hear about men being in abusive relationships, but they do happen. I believe that Rufus was abused by his dad. I’m not sure I would go as far as to say he was physically abused by his father, but he was definitely verbally abused. That seems like a stab to a man’s pride, but abuse among men is not as rare as most people are led to believe. 

I just thought I would share my thoughts as I was reading over some research for another class. This doesn’t have much to do with time travel, but the topic did have to do with Kindred. I hope this shed some light on abuse for those of you who read. One last thing, if you know someone being abused don’t let the abuse keep happening.There is something you could do to help. Just visit these sites and help save a life. Thanks for reading!

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/domestic-violence/WO00044

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm

http://www.owenshousecac.org/

Becoming unNUMB

Think about unpacking for the first time in your college dorm or your new home. You go about your business finding a place for everything to be kept. You may have fixed yourself a coke or tea and may haven even been humming a tune to yourself while unpacking your belongings. All of the sudden you get sick to your stomach and BAM! You are no longer in a familiar place. You no longer have the comforts of home. Confused? Scared? Disoriented?

I can only imagine what Dana felt when all of this was happening to her. She not only is being tossed about between different time periods and space, but she is literally in danger. Her life has immediately become even more fragile than it already is. Why? Because of slavery!

I haven’t ever really thought about slavery. It never happened to me, so in a way I have always been somewhat detached from even the thought of slavery. However, as I have been reading Kindred, I have been getting a new perspective on this detestable way of life that none of us have ever experienced or known.

Octavia Butler takes me to a new place in history. Growing up, especially in Alabama, a whole month is devoted to Black History. Most of that history is about the slaves gaining rights and equality. I know that after studying about slavery every year of school, I sort of became numb to the whole idea. I had this mindset of “Ok, slavery ended. We get taught this every year in school. Can we please learn about something new?” That’s not to say that I don’t care that the slaves were treated so horribly. Talking about slavery makes me uncomfortable. However, like I said before, I just kind of grew numb to it more than likely because slavery has never effected me in my day to day activities.

As I started figuring out what was going on in this book, I thought to myself, “Oh, another book on slavery.” But I must say, I am just shocked at how this book highlights slavery. I’m reading this story, and I literally feel pain when I read about one of the slaves being beaten. I get scared whenever Dana is reading to Nigel and Carrie and Rufus even though she has  permission to read to him. I can see the little kids playing the auction game out near the forest line. Everything seems so real to me. I never thought about a little child being a slave and having to live in the filth with the flies and fleas. I never thought about a Master being so mean that he even treats his son like trash. I would never have thought about one of the “slave kids” being a playmate for a white child, yet still have the consequences of a slave. Octavia Butler put and continues to put everything into a perspective that reaches down to my core and just crushes me.

Slavery, as I am learning, was so much more than we learn about in school. Even though I feel like I’m in the 1800’s when I read this book, I will still never know just how bad it was back then. Let me leave everyone with this…Even though most all of us live luxuriously now (yes, we have a roof over our heads and food to put into our mouths and we are ALL free!), I fear that one day if not us then our children will live to see slavery happen again. However, if we fight for our rights and fight for each other, none of us will ever have to experience that horrible reality we all call slavery.

A Journey in Real Life

Hi everyone. My name is Katie Horton, and I would like to share a story that I believe is relevant to the Time Machine.

Let me be the first to say that I am somewhat confused on time travel to begin with, so this post may be a bit confusing. I apologize for that.

My story deals with my friend, a student at Samford University, who was given the opportunity to go to the Middle East for the past two or three weeks. Now, from what I know About the Middle East, they are at least 12 hours ahead of the United States, but I would venture to say that they are much farther ahead of us than just 12 hours. When this young lady left the United States, she jumped across many time zones and landed in the Country of Jordan, located next to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Israel. Because the Middle East is located where it is day when the United States is asleep and where it is night when the United States is awake, did she jump ahead in time to another day? Then this also raises the question, will she relive the same day twice (just in different settings) when she returns?

I do not think people can time travel. I also believe that people will NEVER time travel. However, this girl’s situation really makes me sit and think about whether or not she will in fact live two days of her life twice. On the day she returns to the United States, she will wake up in Jordan, do the things to leave the country and then come back to the United States, but will she leave Jordan in the daylight, make the 14+ hour journey back to the United States where it will most likely be daylight, and it be the same day on the United States calendar as it was the day she left on Jordan’s calendar?

If this is confusing, I’m sorry. It’s even confusing to me, and it’s my own thought. However, this is the only way I can make time travel seem to “work” for my brain.

I am interested in hearing what everyone else has to say about my friend. This isn’t a huge post about anything really significant, but I guess it does apply to time travel in a realistic setting.

Katie