Summary: A divorced woman with two grown children, Peggy Sue, goes to a high school reunion where her adulterous ex-husband, and high school sweetheart, Charlie, shows up. She then faints and wakes up in high school right before graduation and when they married. After knowing what she knows about the future and how much pain they went through, she decides to try altering their path by breaking up with him before her accidental pregnancy. After so many trials, she finally breaks it off with him (it was pretty difficult), and tries to get back to her own world by talking to a nerdy guy in her school about it. She then thinks about her children and decides that all the pain is worth the struggle, gets back together with him, and wakes up in the hospital with him sitting next to her. He apologizes for everything he’s done to her. Was it just a dream? Nope: The nerdy guy dedicated a book to her, which hadn’t happened in the other reality.
There are a few points in this story line that I would like to point out:
- Method of time Travel
In Peggy Sue Got Married, they don’t need a fancy machine to transport her back into her past, but her traveling is passive and uncontrollable, like what Dana in Kindred and Billy in Slaughterhouse-five experience. She actually tries to go back into the future once and she goes to her grandfather for help. His Mason lodge buddies and him perform a ritual that fails. (Her boyfriend steals her during it so nothing happened. What the old guys performing the ritual see, however, is her disappearing, so they think it worked.) Compared to Dana, who knows why she travels back to the future, Peggy can’t figure it out, and only travels back into the future once she has set everything right that she had changed for the worse (breaking up with Charlie, thus not having the kids). Compared to Billy, she does not travel multiple times throughout her life, but just once. But again, compared to Billy, her traveling is random and uncontrollable.
- Did that really happen?
As in with Kindred, Slaughterhouse-Five, and pretty much every other time travel fiction, many people (and even sometimes the person experiencing the traveling) doubt that they actually traveled through time. Even the reader is not even 100% sure that what the main character is doing is anything other than dreaming or they have a vivid imagination. Billy Pilgrim: potentially crazy. Dana: coping mechanism for abuse. Time Traveler (in Time Machine): mad scientist? Guys from Primer: Hallucinogenic drugs? We will never know: after all, all of it is just fiction. Or is it?
As with Billy’s view, the end result cannot be avoided. When Peggy Sue accepts that might be the moment she travels back to her own time. The Wikapedia summary here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peggy_Sue_Got_Married stated that Peggy Sue “realiz[ed] that she cannot cheat fate” when she gave in to Charlie and that is what sent her to the future. I don’t altogether believe that, but it doesn’t matter what I believe. It actually doesn’t matter what anyone believes. What happened in the story happened and our opinions cannot change that.
- Choices affecting our future (trying to change the past)
It is the theme of many time travel stories to try to change a mistake that was made in the past or to right a wrong, etc. In this case, the mistake would not be righted and even though Peggy made the choice to change what she regretted, she still was not able to alter the event. She could not even stop the accidental pregnancy from happening that led to their early marriage.
- Abusive relationships
A common theme in Kindred was the abusive relationships among all of the people involved (Dana and Kevin, Dana and Rufus, Rufus and his mother, etc). The relationship between Peggy and Charlie is abusive in the fact that he cheated on her and treated her unkindly. Time travel was a device used in order for her to see that she would not have avoided that abuse because her children were worth the abuse and pain.
I believe that the writers of this story used time travel to show that mothers would not change what had happened between them and the father of their children in order to avoid that pain that occurred because the children are worth it. I know my mother wouldn’t. The writers uses the passive time travel as a way to teach Peggy that she would not have it any other way because of how much she loves her children and that she should not regret what she did because it’s not doing anyone any good. She can’t really change her choices anyways, even if she does go back into time.
Overall, I think this story is a great reminder to not regret the past when beautiful things come about from our mistakes or bad choices. That boyfriend that you regret dating will show you what kind of guy you want in the future. That tattoo you regret getting will teach you to think about what you put on your body. And that man you regret marrying might have given you beautiful children to help you through your troubles.
I started reading Kindred early because I was really eager to start and it got me thinking: even if someone said they had time traveled, I would never believe them (Claire Majors also said something about this). No one would ever believe them (other than those wanting to believe) simply because they had never experienced it themselves. It’s like believing in ghosts, whereas more people believe in ghosts even if they hadn’t seen one. But those who do not believe generally have never seen/felt/heard something creepy that they can’t explain away as other than a ghost.
I was watching the 2009 Star Trek this weekend and wanted to point a few things out. I’m not a “Trekkie” and have only seen a few episodes so if I get something wrong, kindly correct me.
In the most recent Star Trek, Captain Kirk’s life gets horribly messed up by the fact that a Romulan ship accidentally traveled back in time and attacked and destroyed his father’s ship. (The Romulans were less-than-nice so it was no accident that they attacked his father’s ship, just that they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.) But this movie takes a shot at answering some questions that we had in class:
- How do we change when something in the world is changed?
How I understood it was that time is kind of like a recorder: you can record something and then rewind and record over previous information with new information. No one would know anything different than from what had already happened, other than the people who had returned. And the Romulans wanted to change things anyways, and Spock is just trying to keep order. He’s kinda helpless.
- What happens when the same person from different time periods meet?
Absolutely nothing. For Spock at least. And probably only because this is in a word where almost anything is possible. It’s not like it would create a paradox or change anything anyways. The new Spock’s life is so completely different than what the Old Spock has experienced so there’s nothing ethically wrong with changing it.
- What are the ethics of changing things that have already happened?
The Romulans could care less, going so far as to destroy a whole planet in order to exact revenge on Spock for “letting” Nero’s family die (Nero is the head Romulan).
I found this movie interesting because it illustrates how terrible your life can become from one occurrence. In the original time, Kirk knew his father and Spock and Kirk were best friends (I don’t know much more than that). But due to a black-hole that Spock created in order to save a galaxy from a supernova, Kirk’s life was unalterably altered. Kirk grew up without a father in this reality, and when Spock and him meet, they are enemies.
Later in the movie, when Spock Old and Spock New meet, Spock Old tells New to keep Kirk in his life and that they will be great friends some day. But this does not alter the fact that the planet Vulcan is completely obliterated.
I’m the kind of person who just takes literature as it is, not really focusing on a deeper level and I rarely “read between the lines” unless I’m forced by English classes to do so (not that that’s a bad thing at all). After reading The Time Machine, and then Firchow’s article, all I have is questions, all of which there are so many different possible answers for.
- What happened that made the Time Traveler not come back?Did he meet a girl and fall in love and decide to stay there? Did he die in the past/future that he went to? This is a more open-ended question that can never quite be answered. I really don’t like open-ended endings. But I guess everything has an open-ended ending (two people may fall in love and get married at the end of the movie but other things may occur after that to disrupt their happy life).
- What is the science behind time traveling?I’m an extremely scientific person and I always want to know how. So how would time travel occur? It’s not that I want to prove the impossibility of it or recreate it or something. In Primer it’s more explained, but in the Time Machine all he really talks about are crystals and tubes and rods. In a book I read a long time ago, Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure, the main character of the book does the same thing (using crystals only) to travel through time. Crystals are generally used by Wiccans and Pagans. So this pushes me to believe that in The Time Machine, the Time Traveler is using magic to go through time. And who can explain magic?
- Is there a moral dilemma for going to the future?I know there’s a moral dilemma about going to the past. Everyone’s always talking about how we shouldn’t change things because they’ve already happened and disasters could occur because we have changed things. But shouldn’t it be the same for the future? Or does it not count because it hasn’t happened yet so we have the right to change it because we’re from the past? So that also brings about another question:
- How did the Time Traveler affect the future by doing these things? (attacking the Morlocks, lighting the forest on fire, etc.)
Did he create a tangible difference in the world in that time period and in the outcome? Would it have been any different if he had not gone to that time period?
Why does the Time Traveler take the side of the Eloi? The Morlocks have also evolved from humans, they just evolved into a light-hating underground form. The Eloi’s ancestors basically forced them to evolve into such so that they could do the work for them. The Eloi may be beautiful but they are also stupid, while the Morlocks are forced to be smart and terrifying in order to survive. That, in my opinion, is what evolution is all about: if you’re under harsh conditions, the toughest will survive and adapt and that’s what the Morlocks did.
Why is the Time Traveler disgusted when he figures out Morlocks are eating Eloi? It’s not cannibalism: just because they both evolved from the same species doesn’t mean they still are the same. The Eloi aren’t even human anymore, even exhibiting characteristics such as disregard for the life of others (for example, nobody tries to save Weena when she nearly drowns) which I consider “inhumane.” The Time Traveler himself said that the only reason he could relate to them more was the fact that they were more human in appearance. He didn’t ever try to really interact with the Morlocks, who could very well have been more like humans in their thinking. Yes, they “attacked” him, but only after he struck out at them.
Since the Eloi’s ancestors are the ones that forced them to evolve, aren’t the Eloi the bad guys, then? Or is it that the Eloi should not be blamed for the fault of their ancestors?
This was actually my main concern with the book, and what disturbed me the most.
I could go on and on with the evolution occurring in the book and many other views, but I’m pretty sure this post is long-winded already.
Give me some feedback on your opinion!