Chaos Theory and Nonlinearity in The Time Traveler’s Wife: Reading in Light of Hayles’s Theory

Fatemeh Ahmadi Azar, Farid Parvaneh


This paper aims to focus on the subject of N. Katherine Hayles’s nonlinearity in Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife as a postmodern work. Niffenegger published her debut novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife in 2003. This novel is a romance and science fiction which narrates the love story of Henry DeTamble – a man with genetic disorder that forces him to time travel unwillingly – and his artist wife, Clare Anne Abshire – who has to deal with his absence and dangerous experiences. Since Henry is a time traveler and experiences life in a non-linear manner, the main question of this research is that to what extent the characteristic of nonlinearity shapes the personality and un-consciences of Henry and Clare in a society which has been defined with Newtonian/Cartesian or linear thinking. To answer this question, N. Katherine Hayles’s Chaos theory can be applicable. Hayles considers nonlinearity as one of the most important and fundamental characteristics of chaotic systems. One of the findings of this research is the inapplicability of Newtonian thinking in post-modern literature.

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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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