Study Guide

The Time Traveler's Wife Book 1, Chapter 2

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Book 1, Chapter 2

A First Time for Everything

  • Sunday, June 1968: Henry reflects on the magic he felt the first time he time traveled. For his fifth birthday, his parents promise to take him to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Henry is so excited that he wakes up that day before dawn. While his parents get ready, Henry tries to read a music score, because he knows that his parents are still hoping he might develop at least some musical aptitude, like them. In vain. He just can't carry a tune.
  • At the museum, Henry's five-year-old self is swept away by the wonders that abound in these timeless halls. He's especially intrigued by the butterflies. Later, back at home, the family has dinner with their landlords, Mr. And Mrs. Kim. Henry nicknames Mrs. Kim "Kimy" because she's his "buddy," his "crazy Korean card-playing babysitter" (1.1.9).
  • In bed at night, Henry asks his mom if they can go back to the museum the next day. She promises him that they'll go soon. Henry can't sleep. Restless, he gets up and then, suddenly, everything changes.
  • Saturday, January 2, 1988, 4:03am/Sunday, June 26, 1968 (Henry is 24, and 5): In the wee hours of the morning, 24-year-old Henry returns home from partying all night. Just as he's about to enter his apartment, he's catapulted straight into the Field Museum of Natural History. Getting his bearings, he remembers that there's a reason for him to be here – it's the fifth birthday of his younger self. He's out time traveling in the museum for the very first time and needs some guidance. He steals some clothes (some for him and some for little Henry) from one of the staff rooms and then meets five-year-old Henry. He explains to the confused boy that he just time traveled, but that he needs to keep his journey a secret. Older Henry then guides little Henry through the museum, picking locks where needed. In the library he shows him the book, Birds of America. Old Henry surprised little Henry with the fact that he knows that the flamingo is his favorite bird. Duh! It's easy to be omniscient when you've done it all before, right?
  • Suddenly, little Henry cries out and pops back to his present time. In the morning, he tells his mom about his adventure. She of course believes that it's a nice dream.

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