Study Guide

The Time Traveler's Wife Book 1, Chapter 3

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Book 1, Chapter 3

First Date, Two

  • Friday, September 23, 1977 (Henry is 36, Clare is 6): Henry meets Clare for her first time in the meadow near her house. He calls out to her from behind a bush (since he's buck naked). When she throws her shoe at him, he tells he means no harm – he's just a time traveler. She doesn't believe him, but lends him her beach towel so he can at least come out from behind the bush. Although Henry tells her facts about her family, she's not impressed. But as their conversation progresses, Clare gradually warms up to him. She offers Henry a Hershey bar, and wants to make a drawing for him, but he explains to her that time travels can't take anything with them, because if they did, in time "the world would be a big mess" (1.3.64). He asks her to please bring him some clothes the next time he visits, September 29, 1977, and to keep their encounter a secret. Then he disappears before her eyes.
  • Wednesday, February 9, 2000 (Clare is 28, Henry is 36): Henry lands back in bed with Clare. He tells her they just met for her first time and that she threw a shoe at him. She denies it.
  • Thursday, September 29, 1977 (Clare is 6, Henry is 35): Clare asks Etta, their housekeeper, for some of her dad's old clothes, pretending that she wants to play dress-up with her friends. Clare heads to the clearing to see Henry, clothes in hand. After waiting for a long time, she decides that he lied to her and isn't coming. She's about to leave when he finally appears. Henry thanks her for the clothes and puts them on. Clare offers to let him stay the night at their house, but he tells her that he's not allowed in until 1992, because time travelers shouldn't meet normal people before the time they're supposed to meet them in the present. When Clare interjects that he already met her, he says that's because she can keep a secret. Clare admits that she told her friend Ruth about him, but that Ruth didn't believe her. Henry tells her not to worry. Most people don't believe him, to which Clare responds, "I believe you" (1.3.113). Henry promises he'll be back on October 16, 1977.

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