English Representation Class Writing

How is representation relevant to this book?

Representation is really relevant to this book as it stands for several minority groups and in this context, it is representing the LGBTQ++ community as Bruce Allen Bechdel and Alison Bechdel are homosexual. It also represents family relationships and how social norms can affect them. These themes that are represented tie back to the idea of political correctness which is essentially how Bruce expects Allison to play the role of a daughter while Allison expects Bruce to play the role of the ideal husband and father. 


How much of it is Bechdel’s own search for representation?

I think that the entire graphic novel is Bechdel’s search for representation as she represents how she and her father had dealt with being a part of what was seen at the time, a minority group (LGBTQ++).  What she represents in her graphic novel is how her father wanted to represent himself as something that he wasn’t (the ideal man in society’s eyes) which is what eventually led to essentially him kill himself. It’s really like the message, ‘you reap what you sow’. Bruce wanted to and did express his sexuality, and he accomplished this through reading books and sharing them with his community. However, while he was doing this he ended up actually repressing all of his feelings and was living in a fictional or fantasy world, something which was displayed by him through the books he was reading. These repressed feelings were what led Bruce to his eventual death as he was unable to accept his own identity. In contrast, Allison had come to realization of her sexuality and wasn’t living in a fantasy-like world her father leading her to accept herself and she joined communities which let her explore her identity. 


Should art be a mirror or a window?

Art could actually be both a mirror and a window. Art could be a mirror as it usually reflects the artist’s emotions and their thoughts. However, it could also be a window as it helps people by giving an insight into the artist’s life as well as social life as he or she perceives it. The reason as to why the two ideas of art being a window and a mirror are linked is because they can be used to spark debate and open society’s eyes to the predicament that people face. For example, Fun Home is technically a piece of art, it is a mirror as it reflects her story and her relationship with her father but it is also a window as she is allowing her audience to witness her relationship with her father through her perspective. 

Asians don’t imagine that all Asians look alike; blacks don’t think all blacks look alike.

“Who gets to tell you what you look like? It’s not a representation of identity so much as it is a renegotiation of it.”

  • Art represents life continues to either show stereotypical identities (geishas, yandere, kawaii schoolgirl) 
  • Or renegotiated identities which are accepted by the society (crazy rich Asians & Black Panther -> people looking at africans as just africans whereas when people look at asians they are able to identify.)

The importance of being Earnest book cover

Personally,  I thought that it would be interesting to make a cover without showing Earnest’s face.  Firstly, because Earnest doesn’t really exist though the play revolves around him, the audience never gets to see him. Secondly, it allows the audience to imagine their own image of Earnest. A reason as to why I drew a formal suit and tie is because it portrays a disciplined man who fits in perfectly into society. If “Earnest” is a part of the middle class, then the suit would make him into a man who is aspirational and wants to rise in the social hierarchy. However, if “Earnest” is a part of the higher class, then the suit ensures that he is a bit of a dandy and a person whom women faun over.


The font I’ve used adds to the mystery that lies in the centre of the play which is revealed at the end when all four characters confront each other and find out that there is no Earnest. I am hoping that the cover conveys some of the vacuum that the play is trying to reflect on the society in that time and the society now.

Leo Tolstoy: The Ivan Ilyich & Other Stories

After reading Anna Karenina, I thought it would be interesting if I read other books by Leo Tolstoy. I recently read two of his short stories from The Death of Ivan Ilyich & Other Stories: The Diary of a Madman and Alyosha the Pot.

The Diary of a Madman is about a man (Fedenka), who throughout life has momentary panic attacks which eventually causes him to have an existential crisis. His first panic attack began at the age of 5 when his nanny and housekeeper argue in such a way that it terrifies him and forces him to remember the moment when he saw a boy get ruthlessly beaten in front of him. This memory triggers his panic attack, causing him to uncontrollably sob in despair. He mentions another moment in his life when his aunt tells him and his brother (Mitya) the story of Jesus Chris, in which he breaks down and has another fit again and beats his head against the wall because of the suffering of Jesus on the Cross. As time carries on, he stops having his sudden outbursts until the day he is on his way to buy a new estate. It is during this time when he is away from home and his family and in the company of a male servant that Fedenka has an existential crisis which leads him to question the purpose of his life and this leads him to have an epiphanic moment. 

I also read another book from his collection, Alyosha the Pot. Alyosha gained his nickname as he dropped a pot of milk when his mother sent him to the deacon’s wife, resulting in him to get a beating from his mother and afterwards he was teased by the children in his locality. Alyosha worked hard from a young age as studying did not come easy to him. When his father scolded him, he did nothing but listened. After his brother was taken as a soldier, Alyosha was taken to work under a merchant and was told to be “uncomplaining, greedy for work.” Alyosha started living at the merchants’ and began to do all the work they set him and was truly, uncomplaining despite all the work being heaped on him. Alyosha constantly did extra work so that he could get more money for his father and would sacrifice eating meals. While he spent his time working, he fell in love with a cook named Utsinya. However, his father forbids the marriage. Alyosha has an accident in which he is badly injured and passes away after a couple of days but not before having an epiphany in the company of the Priest. 

In both stories, both main characters have epiphanic moments. In the first story, The Diary of a Madman, Fedenka encounters God during his fits and realizes that even though he has achieved everything in life (he has an estate, a wife, children) he has no hope for his future, his faith in God is what makes him realize that it is better to live simply. Similarly, in Alyosha the Pot, Alyosha who unlike Fedenka has not been able to achieve anything, is also without hope until he realizes his faith in God is enough to help him die a satisfied man. 

The lack of hope is specifically shown in The Diary of a Madman when Fedenka is on his way to the new estate, his anxiety and fear of change worsens. The very reason as to why Fedenka is on his way to look for a new estate is because he is looking for more materialistic achievements. However, when he confronts himself in the new estate through his fit, he feels let down as God does not reveal himself to him, leaving him to feel even more hopeless as though there is no one he can turn to. But, when Fedenka falls ill, he turns to God, and due to the lack of energy, he decides to go to Church and begins to pray as a habit. He begins to fill his life with reading novels, magazines rather than estate managing and he realizes that it is better to lead a simpler life and that he personally is more content. It isn’t until he is truly lost, has stopped aiming for materialistic achievements and almost faces death when he realizes that he should have faith in God no matter the outcome. Unlike Alyosha, Fedenka is on his way to realizing God, what he has realized is that it is important to lead a simpler life with faith in God.

In contrast, in Alyosha the Pot, Alyosha lives a simple life and since he doesn’t have the intellectual capacity, he can do nothing better and is forced to be a merchant and is forced to keep his dreams of marriage and romance aside. Nevertheless, Alyosha finds solace in God and realizes that people cannot just keep living, “Can we just keep on living? It’s going to be” He realizes that everything would have come to nothing if he had married the cook, as material achievements would not have given him the satisfaction he craves. Thus, Tolstoy is portraying Alyosha to be at a higher spiritual level in contrast to Fedenka because he is able to realize that marriage is not able to provide him with fulfilment. So, when Alyosha passes away, Tolstoy mentions that “He got surprised at something, stretched out, and died” indicating that God was there to receive him to Heaven. His last words,  “as it is good here, provided you obey and do not hurt anyone, so it will be good there” is a paraphrasing of the Lord’s prayer, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

This theme of having faith in God is also portrayed in Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina, the idea of faith is specifically shown in the character Levin. In Anna Karenina, Levin like Fendeka is left hopeless even though he has achieved several of his materialistic goals (having an estate, servants, money) as his true love, Kitty has rejected him. Despite being turned away, Levin turns to God and comes to realize the importance of leading a simpler life. Thus, he treated the peasants and serfs he worked with like ordinary people rather than treating them as though they were inferior. In fact, this is very similar to Fedenka, who too begins to look forward and is hopefull to lead a simpler life, and begins treating the people around him as equal. As Levin kept his faith in God, he is later able to find happiness in the simple things he did with his wife Kitty and their child. Perhaps consequently, the last image of the movie of Levin and his family is similar to the image of the Holy Family, Mary Joseph and Baby Jesus. 

CAS journal 1

Week 1:


The activities and services that I signed up for this year are RDA (riding with the disabled on horses) as well as Kolkata GC and Culturama as well as the table tennis club. At the moment I am enjoying all of the activities and services that I have signed up for. 


The service that I have chosen RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association), is an organisation which aims to create a more inclusive community and inspire hope and improve the lives of people with disabilities. They are working towards enabling and empowering minds, bodies and lives by working with horses. In a way, I feel that the RDA’s aim is very similar to UWC’s as ours is to be a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. Both organisations aim towards bringing people together, although RDA is a lot more specific as it is aimed at those who are less abled. 


I had my first lesson on the 20th of September (of RDA). It was definitely nerve-wracking as I haven’t been near horses in a very long time. However, the experience was very nostalgic as I was raised in a preschool which was almost like a farm (so I was surrounded by animals all day) and I later rode horses in the city as I grew up. Something that was challenging during the exercise was actually handling the riders. Of course, it was only the first lesson in which we were teaching how to ride horses but it was still difficult to get into the hang of addressing the children and getting them to listen to the instructions that we were setting. So a goal for the next session would be: be more relaxed around the kids and the horses, the more relaxed we are the easier it will be for the children to trust us. 


The second activity that I have chosen is Kolkata Global Concern which supports an organisation called Voice of World that helps visually impaired and orphaned children in the city of Kolkata. The GC has been supporting this cause since 2001 and helps to raise awareness and support Voice of the World’s educational projects. Dover Kolkata GC runs an annual cultural showcase of Indian dance, song and food called SAFAR. The East GC runs an Indian dance showcase called Kahani. I joined this GC as I am from Kolkata and I thought that it would be incredibly good experience especially as I don’t keep as much contact with my extended family back in India. I am really looking forward to the Kahani dance showcase and I hope to be a dance choreographer or leader!


I am also a part of the table tennis club and am a part of the culturama (south korean dance) which aims to unite and celebrate different cultures.  

The Importance of Being Earnest Reflection


A line that I personally thought was interesting was when Algernon accuses Jack of being a Bunburyist. (Act 1) He says, “Algernon: You are one of the most advanced Bunburyists I know. Jack: What on earth do you mean? Algernon: You have invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest, in order that you may be able to come up to town as often as you like. I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, in order that I may be able to go down into the country whenever I choose. Bunbury is perfectly invaluable.” Being a Bunburyist becomes a synonym for hypocrisy for the two characters. 

In this quote, Algernon explains to Jack how both men use their alternative personas to deceive others, satisfy their own desires (of doing things against social norms), and to make themselves look moral, which turns them from mere pretenders into hypocrites. They are hypocrites as they know what is socially correct and constantly state those values throughout the play. However, their actions contradict their words as both characters deceive society and disregard the social norms that they themselves had previously stated. This idea of hypocrisy and leading a double life is constantly shown throughout the play through Jack and Algernon. 

Algernon and Jack create similar deceptions of the same character (as they both have the same aim: to have the woman fall in love), but these characters are not morally parallel. When Jack fabricates his brother Ernest’s death, he shows the deception with costumes and props, and he does his best to convince the family he’s mourning. By doing this, he is acting hypocritically as he is presenting mourning in a way which is acceptable to society and to him. However, he isn’t mourning at all, he is simply acting as though he is in pain. In contrast, Algernon makes up elaborate stories that don’t really affect the truth in any serious way or try to alter anyone else’s perception of reality, for example pretending to be Earnest. Algernon is more of a charlatan than a hypocrite, the latter being more closely linked to moral values. 

Jack’s imaginary brother Earnest is merely a way for him to escape his social and moral obligations but it is also something that allows Jack to appear far more moral and responsible than he actually is – thus contradicting his supposed name. Similarly, Algernon’s imaginary friend Bunbury allows Algernon to escape to the country, where he introduces himself to people differently, like the way he introduces himself to Cecily in the play, as Jack’s brother Earnest. 

Either way, both characters symbolize Wilde as he creates a life for himself. Their lives are similar to Wildes’ as he too in a way lived a double life, or at least attempted to. During his college life, Wilde had decorated his room to give vent to his artistic instincts which possibly were a result of his homosexual character and to (at the time) hide his homosexual desires which were against the Victorian societal norm. Similarly, after his marriage when Wilde was attached to Boisey, Wilde lived in a double life, juggling between his relationship with this significant other as well as his family. However, Oscar was not hypocritical as he would openly express his dismissal of social norms.

Similarly, this was shown in the graphic novel we had recently read, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Bechdel’s father too lived a double life and would juggle his relationship with his family and with his other partners. He kept a facade by simply portraying himself to be an ideal man and did this by decorating the house with Gothic Revival artifacts – like Oscar Wilde. 

Anna Karenina Reflection

I recently re-watched the movie Anna Karenina. It was about Anna Karenina, the wife of a Russian imperial minister who creates a high-society scandal by having an affair with Count Vronsky, a dashing cavalry officer in 19th-century St. Petersburg. Anna’s husband, Alexei, offers her a difficult choice: Go into exile with Vronsky but never see her young son again, or remain with her family and abide by the rules of discretion. 


The director Joe Wright, uses an interesting type of graphic cinematographic technique as he recreates a majority of the scenes in Anna Karenina on a stage to signify the facade that Anna and the rest of the elite Russian society maintain. Anna Karenina is based in mid-1860’s Russia during the rise of realism and foreshadowed the introduction of communism that would later take place in 1917 after World War I. Though communism wasn’t present at all in the novel as it would come to Russia after World War I, what Leo Tolstoy shows is the complete difference in lifestyle of the elite and the poor. It is interesting to note that Anna Karenina is set during the years 1852 to 63 during which period there was an Emancipation Reform where the Russian Tzar, Alexander issued a manifesto emancipating the serfs (an agricultural labourer bound by the feudal system) as there was constant rebellion against the feudal Russian society. Leo Tolstoy himself was an aristocrat. However, after experiencing a profound moral crisis and spiritual awakening in 1870, he realized that the message he was being taught in the Orthodox Russian Church was different from what Jesus truly intended in the Bible. This is what led him to write Anna Karenina as he realized that a true Christian could find lasting happiness by striving for inner self-perfection which happens in seclusion, away from the Church. This kind of epiphany, which is closely reflected in Levin’s character, made him come to the realization that there should not be class division in Russian society. 


Joe Wright portrays Tolstoy’s aim to suppress social division by depicting the story through the eyes of the elite. The aristocrats’ stories are portrayed on a stage to represent their lifestyle in a  highly stylized and is made beautiful until it seems artificial. Whereas the poor are portrayed to be shown living underneath the stage sets, out of the vision of society. It is almost as if society did not acknowledge the existence of the poor. In one of the opening scenes, Princess Kitty Shcherbatsky is portrayed to be sitting on the stage wearing a white dress with flowers in her hair. She is sitting amidst clouds and represented as an angel from the heavens.  Kitty needs to represent that she is innocent and virginal, thus making her the perfect and ideal woman of that time in Levin’s eyes. On a similar note, Oblongsky (Stiva), Anna’s brother is introduced as the stereotypical Russian elite as he is seen walking into his office as his clerks were helping him take his cloak and hat off. The scene is almost like a burlesque as the workers are rapidly stamping papers. In the scene, Oblongsky says, “The heart of Russia today is nothing but paperwork” referring to the artificial Russian society. Another important scene that is shown as a stage play is when Alexei Vronksry (Anna’s lover) loses a horse race and ends up shooting his favourite horse. Vronsky shoots his own horse as his pride is dismantled in front of society which causes Anna to realize how much Vronky values his social pride. 


In contrast, Joe Wright depicts the story of the poor people who have been ignored by the Russian upper class by portraying them in scenes which are distinctly darker and realistic. An example would be the scene where the railway worker at the train station was run over by the train while checking the wheels of the compartments. At that point, if Anna had not mentioned how awful the scene was, Vronksky would not have given the other railway workers money to dispose off his body. Similarly, in the scene where Levin’s brother Nicolai is introduced and shown to be on the verge of death and is represented to be under the sets of the stage in the dark. Nicolai is as an idealist who has lost faith in his ideals and drinks away his sorrow. It is almost as though he is being held a prisoner, so that the nonidealists could keep track of his movements and prevent him from spreading his views. 


Against this setting of a clearly divided society, are the three characters, Anna Karenina, Konstantin Levin and (Dolly) Darya Oblonsky who are looking for the real meaning of life. The three characters could be perceived to be reflections of each other in carrying forward the theme of reality. Dolly attempts to break away from her marriage with Oblongsky due to his infidelity. However, she is unable to as she is a woman and has no status in society without the name of her husband as the Russian Orthodox Church would not accept a divorced woman. In a different version of the same story, Anna Karenina breaks away from her unsatisfying marriage and into the arms of her lover (Vronsky), succeeding to a large extent with her rebellion as she was intelligent and strong-headed enough to understand her needs. However, eventually, her plan backfired as she was ostracized by society. In contrast to both the women, Levin’s character finds his reality after being rejected by Kitty the first time. He decides to abandon urban society and begins to work at his family home in the countryside with the serfs that his father used to own. During this time Levin find his faith in God in a spiritual awakening like Tolstoy which leads him to set the serfs free and confront Kitty once again near the end of the movie. In a comparison of all the three characters, Levin finds the most satisfaction in his life as he is a rich man and society would look at him with tolerance no matter his actions. Additionally, unlike Anna and Dolly who are unable to find happiness in the realities they are seeking, Levin’s reality is based on his faith and his real understanding of the real God. This ensures he can build a life of sustained happiness. 


anna karenina
Alexei Vronksy
Alexei Karenin
Princess kitty
Oblongsky (Stiva)

Fun Home Reflection (Chapter 1)

After reading and writing what I noticed in the second chapter, I later came to realize that similar ideas were also shown in the first chapter, just through different hints and myths. In the first chapter of Fun Home, Alison describes how she is a polar opposite of her father. This is related to the second chapter as the 2nd panel on the first page itself is a hint that Alison ignored her father, an act that she now perhaps regrets. In the next couple of pages, there are several references to The Myth of Icarus and Daedalus, which is related to the book she later reads The Myth of Sisyphus (chapter 2).   




The Myth of Icarus and Daedalus is actually about Daedalus who set to work to fabricate wings made out of wax for himself and his son Icarus because both of them had to escape the labyrinth that Daedalus had created at the request of King Minos to imprison the mInorau who was half-human and half bull. Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low because the sea foam would make the wings wet and they would no longer fly. Icarus did not obey the words told by his father. He flew too high up and near to the sun and that melted the wax of his wings. His death is the results of his rebellious attitude as he disobeyed his father. 




Bruce Allen in some sense was similar to Daedalus as he was too a craftsman and he used to find solace in creating things. Similarly, like Icarus, Alison wanted freedom from the life she was living, she wanted to express her homosexuality and have her own identity like Bruce Allen who wanted to express his own feelings as well. They both felt as though they were caged and had their freedom stripped away from them so, in context, Bruce Allen being with teenage boys and Alison rebelling in her own little ways were their “waxwings”.  




This reflection is shown on the first page in the first chapter (Old father, old artificer – skilled mechanic) where Alison and Bruce Allen are playing “airplane”. The significance of this panel is that they are basically reflections of one another, they both want freedom. Both of their arms are away from each other which could symbolize that they are both flying and as they are facing each other it could suggest that they’re both aiming for the same thing. It could also be seen as “hands-off parenting” where they refused to rely onto each other for support when they needed it. Additionally, Bruce Allen had also created a labyrinth of this own – his gothic house – which he almost converted into a maze with its mirrors and artifacts. 

Fun Home: Chapter 2 class reflection

In the second chapter of Fun Home, Alison describes how her father gave her clues and hints that he was facing a phase of turmoil because he was trying to express his homosexuality and intense unhappiness through simple objects and literary references. In this panel, Alison needed to read a book, The Myth of Sisyphus which her father happened to have a copy of but she rejected his offer. In the drawing, Alison is seen to have short hair and is wearing boyish clothes. Although to readers it may seem as though nothing is wrong, Alison could be seen as unfeminine and having come out in the open with her gender preference. 




The book Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is actually about the Gods that had forced Sisyphus to continuously, without end role a rock to the top of a mountain, from where the stone would just fall back because of its own weight. The Gods felt that there was no punishment worse than hopeless and repetitive labour. Sisyphus was punished as he was a narcissist and believed that he was the most important person. 




Bruce Allen in some sense was similar to Sisyphus as he too had to repeat his work of being an English teacher and a funeral planner, both jobs which he did against his will even though his first passion was architecture and the creative element of it. He was also a narcissist himself as he used to use a bronzer and would brush his hair to conceal his receding hairline an act to preserve his image as the ideal husband and father. Bruce Allen also showed his image by perfecting his house to the point where he ended up treating his children like furniture and his furniture like his children. 


Politically Correct:


As Alison rejected the book from her father, she later realized at an older age, after Bruce Allen’s death that throughout her whole life, he was giving her hints of his sexuality and his unhappiness through literary references. He was also hinting at his lifelong depression and eventual suicide. These reoccurring events of Alison and her family ignoring her father’s hints could have been what destroyed the relationship between the entire family. 


The need for political correctness works both ways – Alison wants Bruce Allen to act as a father to her and her brothers and so has politically correct expectations of her father. Similarly, Bruce Allen wants his daughter to be more feminine and so has politically correct expectations of her. Yet at the same time as individuals, their actions of being homosexual show them to be politically incorrect.




On page 28, Bruce Allen is reading a book by the French novelist, Marcel Proust who claims that “life is ruined by the shroud of familiarity that descends between us” meaning that the repetitiveness of a job can ruin the complete pleasure and excitement making it a painful chore. This is shown in Bruce Allen’s life as he is forced to repeat his daily job of being both a funeral planner and an English teacher which adds to his overall frustration and depression. 



The Politics of the Amazon Fires

The fires in the Amazon Rainforest have captured the planet’s attention. The Amazonian fires which have been burning for weeks and have received less coverage than the Notre Dame’s fires is a symbol of humanity’s indifference to the environmental disorder, especially climate change. 

Climate change is not the only cause of wildfires. Most say that a majority of California blazes are sparked by accident and are then intensified by climate change.  However, the Amazonian fires are not wildfires at all. These fires did not start by a lightning strike or power line, they were lighted. The fires largely affect the land which is already cleared for ranching and farming. They have begun to spread into old-growth forest.

Brazil’s political leadership has changed in the past year. On January 1, Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist who has openly pined for his country’s authoritarian past, was sworn in as President. During his campaign, he promised to weaken Amazon’s environmental protections which have been effective at reducing deforestation for the past two decades and open up the rainforest to economic development.

Now he is making good on that promise. As the three Brazilian states which have witnessed the worst spikes of the fire this year have all been governed by Bolsonaro’s allies. The states which are governed by Bolsonaro’s political opponents have actually seen a decline in fires. Additionally, according to accusations by the global news site OpenDemocracy, leaked documents show that Bolsonaro’s government intends to strategically prevent conservation projects in the Amazon. 

Recognizing that the fires are a political problem as well as an environmental one does not make solving them any easier. Bolsonaro implied that environmental NGOs were behind the burning. Bolsonaro blames the NGOs for the burning as he is a right-winged politician and does not want minority groups to gain support from them. After President Emmanuel Macron of France called the fires a crisis, tweeting that “our house is burning,” Bolsonaro, accused Macron of a “misplaced colonial mindset.”

The Amazon rainforest does, in some sense, belong to Brazilians and the indigenous people who live there. But as a store of carbon, it is fundamental to the survival of every person. If destroyed or degraded, the Amazon, as a system, is simply beyond humanity’s ability to get back. Even if people were to replant the entire region, the diversity of creatures across Amazonia, will not be replenished for almost 10 million years. And that is 33 times longer than homo sapiens, as a species, has existed.


Key Points/Takeaways:

  1. French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said separately last week they would move to reject a landmark European Union trade deal arranged with South America unless Brazil takes action to protect the rainforest.
  2. This pact requires Latin America to obey by the Paris climate accord, which Bolsonaro has threatened to leave and also aims to end illegal deforestation, including in the Brazilian Amazon.
  3. In efforts to protect the forest, G7 countries (advanced economies in the world: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) on Monday agreed to provide more than $20m to help fight the fires. Canada and the UK pledged an additional $11m and $12m of aid. – This was announced by Macron
  4. Brazil’s government said it would reject the funding as it was going to affect the country’s sovereignty (supreme power or authority).

Time Traveler’s Wife Reflection

The Time Traveler’s Wife is the debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger, published in 2003. It is a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist, who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. Niffenegger, frustrated in love when she began the work, wrote the story as a metaphor for her failed relationships. The tale’s central relationship came to her suddenly and subsequently supplied the novel’s title. The novel, which has been classified as both science fiction and romance, examines issues of love, loss, and free will. In particular, it uses time travel to explore miscommunication and distance in relationships, while also investigating deeper existential questions.


“I had kind of got the idea that there’s not going to be some fabulous perfect soulmate out there for me, so I’ll just make him up.”


Henry is not only married to Clare; he’s also married to time. She also drew on her parents’ marriage for inspiration—her father spent the bulk of each week travelling. Despite the story’s analogies to her own life, Niffenegger has forcefully stated that Clare is not a self-portrait; “She’s radically different. I am much more willful and headstrong. … I don’t think I could go through a lifetime waiting for someone to appear, no matter how fascinating he was.”


Niffenegger identifies the themes of the novel as “mutants, love, death, amputation, sex, and time”, and focuses on love, loss, and time. 


In a way, the book Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) is a metaphor for life. It is similar to the book The Time Traveler’s Wife because it has the element of time. Both books talk about how the main characters wait for their partners for almost a lifetime and once they realize how painful it is to wait for so many years, it’s already too late and they have to let go. This idea is portrayed through several little signs which portrays a long-distance relationship.  For example, in the book Never Let Me Go, the significance of the distance in the relationship was shown at the end of the book when Tommy realizes that he is going to have to die and he and Kath blindly accept that they barely have time together and they end up staying together until the end. Similarly, even though Henry keeps disappearing, Clare refuses to leave him and continues to be by his side until she passes away. The last time she sees him is when she is 82 years old, years after his death. The characters in both books are similar as they both despite the consequence of being lonely, in the end, stay true to the people they love. Both books show the difficulty of falling in love and highlight both the highs and lows of being in a relationship.