Study Guide

The Time Traveler's Wife Book 1, Chapter 7

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Book 1, Chapter 7

Christmas Eve, Two

  • Saturday, December 24, 1988 (Henry is 25): It's Christmas Eve and Henry is all alone. His father doesn't really want to spend Christmas with him, and his friends are with their families. Henry buys a bottle of Schnapps and wanders the streets of Chicago aimlessly. After the alcohol wears off, he gets hungry and stops by the Berghoff, a warm, cozy family restaurant. Over dinner he reflects on his ambivalent feelings about death. On the one hand, he wants to avoid the sadness that returns when he thinks about his mother, especially on that day; on the other hand, he feels that dead people do need to be remembered.
  • After dinner, Henry heads to the "Get Me High" lounge. He orders a whiskey. Mia lets him know that she's available for some casual frivolity, but Henry's not interested. He asks her, though, to mix him something potent. Henry loves her concoction. "A sensation of heat and total well-being floods me" (1.7.18). A few drinks later, Henry passes out and has to be taken to the hospital. Mia feels horrible. She asks him if he has a death wish, and he replies: "Yes."
  • Saturday, April 8, 1989 (Clare is 17, Henry is 40): Clare is hanging out with Grandma Meagram. From the list of dates Henry gave her, she knows that they're approaching a two-year gap until she'll see him again. She realizes how strongly she feels about him and longs for him to show that he's serious about her too. On her walk with her grandmother, Henry shows up out of the blue. Although Clare's grandma is blind, she can sense his presence, so Clare introduces him as the friend Henry who she told her about. Grandma asks to touch his face and concludes that Henry is not a boy. Grandma Meagram tells Henry that, according to Clare, he promised to marry her and she's kind of piqued about the fact that he hasn't introduced himself to her parents. Henry says he will, in time, and disappears.
  • After Clare explains Henry's condition to her grandmother, the older woman concludes that Henry is bad husband material: "…why in the world would you want to marry such a person? Think of the children you would have! Popping into next week and back before breakfast" (1.7.6.).

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