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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: A Question About Henry's Death  (Read 6160 times)
lennymacion
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #30 on: Mar 4th, 2008, 01:24am »

I still do not quite understand Henry's death. If I'm correct, Henry time travelled back from 2007 to 1984 where he was shot, then he re-emerged in 2007.

So in clare's natural timeline (1984) there were 2 time travelling Henry's. If this is correct then the story indicates that the present and future occur at the same time.......because in clare's natural timeline, the 2007 Henry has already had his legs amputated.....so either

1) the future (2007) has already happened before 1984 (which is odd)

2) the future and present is happening at the same time (which is also kind of odd)

Anyway, the book is a piece of literary genius, and cannot wait for the film........

p.s just as an added note today's date is is 4 march 2008

Hindu's believe the year to be 4 march 5109
Muslims believe year to be 1429
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Johneaux
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #31 on: Mar 4th, 2008, 2:06pm »

And Jews believe it to be the year 5768 and the Chinese believe it to be 4705 and on the Julian Calender, as opposed to the Gregorian Calender, today's date is February 20, 2008 not March 4, 2008 so what's your point with the different calenders?
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lennymacion
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #32 on: Mar 5th, 2008, 02:50am »

Basically, calendars indicate a linear time-line, which is genrally the mind set of the West, in regard to understanding time... i.e.

beginning -- end
birth -- death.

It is this "illusion" of time that presents the problems in the TTTW, which I indicated in my previous post.

In the East, particularly in Buddhist thought, time is regarded as being like a wheel i.e.

no beginning -- no end.

So basically, Buddhists see the linear time-line as an illusion. There are other illusions that surround us in our perceived "reality", such as the mathematical illusion that suggests that 1 + 1 = 2. This is not always true, as can be simply pointed out.

Anway, I've read the book twice, and absolutely love it.

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mariamaria
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #33 on: May 11th, 2008, 12:01pm »

Well, hope this isn't too morbid for my first substantive post, but - I’ve been re-reading this thread and thinking about more questions I’ve always had about Henry’s death…specifically, about how it took place (in the “present” at least) at the New Year’s Eve party. I’ve always been amazed that he agreed to the party, knowing what was going to happen. I just looked it up again and I guess the answer to “why” is right there in the text (p. 511 in the Harcourt paperback), when he tells Clare “I don’t want you to be alone…after. And I wanted to say goodbye to everyone.” So this isn’t really a question – but it must have been tough for Henry, knowing he was condemning everyone he and Clare loved, including several children, to witnessing his horrific death…I never know if that makes the whole thing better or worse…

Here’s some actual questions, though. By that time, did everyone in his life know all about his time traveling and accept it? They must have…what about the rest of the world, though? Was his condition well-known and accepted enough by 2006 that the whole thing would have been explicable to the cops, for instance? Otherwise I’m not sure how they could have explained it. And what about Phillip and Mark Abshire, who were both at the party and neither of whom are stupid - did they put two-and-two together and realize what happened that mysterious day back in 1984 when Mark shot…something…that wasn’t a deer? This thread has talked about whether they recognized the Henry-who-wasn’t-shot whom they actually saw in the Meadow, but did they realize that the person Mark shot was Henry too (having heard him screaming for Clare)? If so, how incredibly traumatic that must have been for them. What do folks think about this?

I know that for a long time after my first reading of the book, I would go back into it and reread my favorite scenes, or even most of the story, but I would carefully skip around the “After the End” chapter and the first episode of the Monroe Street parking garage and then stop before I ever got close to the second one where Henry loses his feet. After some time I finally forced myself to re-read the entire book in sequence, and since then it’s gotten easier…but not easy. What a masterful tragedy this is, on so many levels!
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The compellling thing about making art...is the moment when the vaporous, insubstantial idea becomes a solid THERE, a thing, a substance in a world of substances...call it a swine, a war, a laurel tree. Call it art.
monicastanner
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #34 on: May 30th, 2008, 09:28am »

Wow, first post for me. Just read the book this past week while on a cruise, read it in 2 days and couldn't put it down. Took it everywhere I went. I wouldn't have bought it myself, it just didn't "sound" like my kind of book. I'm so thankful an obsessive reading friend bought it for me. Moving on..

Henry's death is the one confusing thing that I couldn't figure out although I re-read a few things there to try to grasp it. I, like everyone else, started crying when he met Alba at the museum and didn't stop until the end pretty much. Of course the last few pages were the hardest.

I Googled the title as soon as I got home. I found out there's a movie coming (yay, though I'm sure I'll like the book better- always happens with books turned movies) and stumbled upon this thread. I read last night and returned this morning. Ok, I digress (again)

I couldn't figure out why he had to loose his feet, what that had to do with anything?! Why "that particular" struggle was important to the journey. I just realized reading a few posts back....about Henry running in order to "ground" himself. Oh yeah, I forgot that was the reason he "needed" to run and how it helped him. (My husband is a runner too, so I get people who "need" it for many reasons) I'm glad someone pointed that out again though.

I don't guess I have a question, just rambling that this thread (and the others here) are helping me so much! I will re-read this book again later this summer. I need time to get away from the story and then come back to experience it again with a fresh start.

This thread has helped my questions (that I never had to ask actually) tons!! Thanks!!

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DeeJayGQRox
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #35 on: Aug 8th, 2008, 9:56pm »

I was pretty stunned by the implications of Henry's death in front of his family and friends at the party, myself. When Gomez says "I think we'd better call the police," I thought to myself...what are the police going to believe?? Henry would have the gunshot wound, but obviously no weapon would be found there. I highly doubt the police know about Henry's time-traveling because he distrusts them - with good reason, in his case! So that leaves me wondering what the heck would the police do? I'm sure Clare would be called in for questioning, and maybe even Gomez, or pretty much anyone that was at the party. Beyond that, I just don't know.

Also, I had to wonder the very same thing about Philip and Mark. I'm not sure they would have understood the immediate circumstances surrounding Henry's sudden, bloody appearance at the NYE party. It just seems like such a shocking event, I'm not sure how anyone could have made sense of it then, aside from Clare. Clare doesn't seem particularly close to her family - at least her brother and dad - so I don't see why she'd tell them. Henry would really have no reason to, either. All they know about him is that he looks just like a man who appeared in their backyard when they were hunting. Perhaps they also noticed that he sounded like the man they shot, who shouted "Clare!" (Side note: They didn't ever see him after they shot him, did they?) In my mind, when Henry showed up to eat with them for the first time, they must have thought they were seeing a ghost. Or that he had some uncanny resemblance to the man they spoke to, and possibly to the man they shot. I do NOT think they would have known enough to put two and two together. Even Henry's coworkers don't believe him until there are two Henries there to explain. It just seems to me that Philip and Mark definitely know something is very weird and wrong with Henry, but I just don't think they know enough about the original Meadow encounter to understand why he's bleeding before them at the party.

~Heather
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shellmoby
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #36 on: Oct 2nd, 2008, 06:12am »

on May 30th, 2008, 09:28am, monicastanner wrote:
I couldn't figure out why he had to loose his feet, what that had to do with anything?! Why "that particular" struggle was important to the journey. I just realized reading a few posts back....about Henry running in order to "ground" himself. Oh yeah, I forgot that was the reason he "needed" to run and how it helped him. (My husband is a runner too, so I get people who "need" it for many reasons) I'm glad someone pointed that out again though.



My interpretation of Henry losing his feet - which I found horrific actually, but then I guess it had to be - was to show the complete lack of control Henry had over his life, which in the end led to his demise. Yes, Henry relied on his feet so much to run faster than the people chasing him, and I found myself wondering as I read the book - before I got to the first meeting with 10 year old Alba - how Henry would cope as an elderly criminal running away from people.

Ultimately, I think Henry always knew - at least on a subconscious level - he was going to die young. There's a clue in the first few years when he and Clare are first dating, when he says something along the lines of "If anything ever happens to my feet, you might as well shoot me" - which gives me a shiver every time I read it.

I think Henry losing his feet is a metaphor for losing his connection to the present, as he ultimately will do once he is shot - the way he pounds the streets every day, not just to keep fit, but to keep him sane and in some way, as monicastanner says, 'grounded' in his own time.

I think it is a brilliant piece of writing, and as Ms Niffenegger has said in a post on here somewhere, Henry was always meant to die in the story. I don't think it could have been any other way.
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battlegiraffe
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #37 on: May 3rd, 2009, 5:38pm »

I just re-read the book for the second time, paying much closer attention to various themes. And, in typical time-travel fashion, I'm just starting to check websites for information on the book and its many questions and topics.

I found this thread to be interesting, especially since so many people are asking about the two Henrys present in 1984 at Henry's death. I remember being very confused by this the first time I read the book, but this second time it seemed very clear to me. I may have misread some of the confusion surrounding this event, and others may have comprehended it better than I. But in case someone like me is a little late on checking this website, here's my take on this:

On pages 468-469 of my paperback edition (it's the last two pages of the chapter called "An Unpleasant Scene"), Henry is saying that he knows "now" how his ending will be. The date is clearly marked October 27, 1984, which says very plainly to me that Henry is time-traveling. Since this occurs in the book not long after Henry's unfortunate arrival in The Cage at the Newberry, and immediately after Henry's conversation with Clare on July 14, 2006, I think it is also clear that this is the point in Henry's life and where this instance of time-travel occurred.

It's only a month or two at most before he loses his feet, when Henry goes back to that October night in 1984. He's 43; he still has his feet, and he won't live past the end of this year. He goes back in time and sees himself getting shot... that's how he knows how it will all end. I don't believe he gets much information from seeing his own obituary except the date of his death.

And personally, I tend to favor the idea that by this time, Henry has made sure that all of his friends and family are aware of his condition. Since the first scientific articles about the time-traveling mice appeared in "Nature" magazine in the third week of January, 2000 (p. 359 in my booK), there has been plenty of time - 6 years - for Henry to bring that (and no doubt subsequent) articles to the attention of his friends and relations, and say something like "See those time-traveling mice? A funny thing, that genetic condition; you see...."

I also find it interesting that Clare (and the others) do not seem all that surprised by Henry's "shot" condition when he reappears in his own home just before he dies. So I suspect that Henry may have warned at least a few of them that when he does die, it will be in this manner. He simply hides from them the exact time that it would happen.

A beautifully written, artistically crafted book. I look forward to more from this excellent author.

smiley
« Last Edit: May 3rd, 2009, 5:57pm by battlegiraffe » User IP Logged

schmanda
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #38 on: Jun 4th, 2009, 05:44am »

on Dec 9th, 2007, 2:07pm, KearneyMO wrote:
Here are some examples for you ...
There are many, many time traveling Henry's present at his mother's death. A grownup time traveling Henry is present in the field museum to escort his 6-year-old time-traveling self on his first travel. Numerous grownup time traveling Henrys tutored younger versions of himself (who were also time traveling) in how to pickpocket, etc. in order to survive.
... These are just the examples I can think of at the top of my head, there are probably more.


in the meadow when Henry (43 y.o. who is travelling from NYE) is shot, and there is another Henry who has time travelled and watched this occur...from what time is this second Henry? normally i can follow from when each of them is coming and returning to, but this one still puzzles me because in the chapter "An Unpleasant Scene" we only have the present time date October 27, 1984 and when we read about it the first time it was from Clare's point of veiw, so i am still trying to figure out when the Henry that is with Mark and Clare's dad is from. He is also 43, so I have to assume it was 2006, but many times when Henry time-travels we read about him disappearing and then directly after we read when he went to. and this particular event didn't have a specified date to show when the second Henry came from. i think this is why it gets people confused. or possibly i just missed it? am i to just assume it happened around July 2006, because that's when the present time dates prior to this event are?
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MP09
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #39 on: Aug 30th, 2009, 1:43pm »

I just finished reading this amazing book for the second time and I am still confused about one thing...Does Clare know it is Mark who killed Henry? I know she hears Henry call her that day she sees him with Mark and Phillip and when she comes back to her room she says she feels like something really bad just happened...does she ever realize that that's the moment when Henry got shot?

Thanks all!
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talulatiger
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #40 on: Sep 4th, 2009, 11:25am »

sorry if these two questions have already been answered: this is such a confusing thread to follow!

But I have two questions about Henry's death in the meadow - one about Henry and one about Clare...


1) HENRY: What age is the time-traveling Henry that witnesses his own death, and do we read his version of witnessing this in the book? As an implication, from what age does Henry know how, when and where he dies?


2) CLARE: Does Clare ever know how Henry dies? In the book, she just receives the dying Henry back on New Year's Eve after being lied to by Henry and Alba for quite some time about it. But does she ever know that Henry was shot by her brother and afther, and that was what was happening when she was 13 and ran out to the eadow when Henry called her name?

(BTW - which Henry called her name?)

Thanks so much!
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mariamaria
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #41 on: Sep 4th, 2009, 12:04pm »

on Sep 4th, 2009, 11:25am, talulatiger wrote:
sorry if these two questions have already been answered: this is such a confusing thread to follow!

But I have two questions about Henry's death in the meadow - one about Henry and one about Clare...


1) HENRY: What age is the time-traveling Henry that witnesses his own death, and do we read his version of witnessing this in the book? As an implication, from what age does Henry know how, when and where he dies?


2) CLARE: Does Clare ever know how Henry dies? In the book, she just receives the dying Henry back on New Year's Eve after being lied to by Henry and Alba for quite some time about it. But does she ever know that Henry was shot by her brother and afther, and that was what was happening when she was 13 and ran out to the eadow when Henry called her name?

(BTW - which Henry called her name?)

Thanks so much!


I have no idea if Clare ever figures out how Henry died...that's a great question, I'll wait to find out if anyone else has any idea! However, we do know the age of the Henry who witnesses his own death, and we read his witnessing of it (or at least we read about his witnessing of it). I can't cite the page number since I'm at work and don't have my copy with me, but it's a short chapter near the end...I think it's after the amputation and not too long before the actual death scene.

Maria
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The compellling thing about making art...is the moment when the vaporous, insubstantial idea becomes a solid THERE, a thing, a substance in a world of substances...call it a swine, a war, a laurel tree. Call it art.
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #42 on: Sep 4th, 2009, 12:04pm »

Oh, and the Henry who has just been shot is the one who called Clare's name.
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The compellling thing about making art...is the moment when the vaporous, insubstantial idea becomes a solid THERE, a thing, a substance in a world of substances...call it a swine, a war, a laurel tree. Call it art.
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #43 on: Sep 4th, 2009, 12:11pm »

thanks so much, mariamaria!

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CountryMidwife
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xx Re: A Question About Henry's Death
« Reply #44 on: Sep 16th, 2009, 4:48pm »

Poor Henry had lived so many more days than regular people.... he had to die young.

For what it's worth, I don't think anyone but Henry knew exactly when/how his death took place. Not Clare, not Mark or their dad. Only Henry, because he heard his other self scream a death scream, and then saw the blood.

There is a foreshadowing earlier in the book, when they are celebrating a different New Years moment on the Chicago rooftop. Henry says something along the lines of "dumb people who fire guns (to celebrate) as if it doesn't matter". I think everyone at the party who had to bear witness to his sudden massive abdominal hemorrhage (and the police) probably assumed that's what happened. Of course, he would have been naked. I am supposing Clare would have come up with a story that she dragged a naked Henry, randomly shot from a falling bullet on the balcony, to where he appeared. I don't believe everyone in his life (including Clare's family) knew of the time traveling... just Charisse and Gomez, his doctor, the guy with AIDS... finally, his work friends.

The emotional experience of reading of this last night... sure made me never want to know the answer to the question "when do I die". Affecting, and profound.

PLEASE Audrey ---- a sequel, of Alba's life!!!!!!
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