“Forever Yours – Anna” by Kate Wilhelm and “‘- All You Zombies –’”, by Robert A. Heinlein are incredible stories, which depict the idea of the time travel. The author of each narrative uses the elements of science to illustrate lives of the main characters through the prism of fiction. It is based on the world of reality and imagination that unites the past, present, and future. In such a way, the primary theme of both stories is to reflect the importance of traveling in time and its considerable influence on the protagonists; however, Wilhelm focuses on the journey of life through the revelation of love, and Heinlein shows how the time machine can change the fate of an individual.
Love has no boundaries, and science turns it to a mysterious puzzle without keys to learn the hidden truth. In the story “Forever Yours – Anna”, Wilhelm applies a scientific approach to investigate the primary events of the narrative. The author examines the theme of love and its power as the so-called tool that may help to cope with any obstacle in life. It is evident that love has something more than just the ability to help the protagonists. One may notice its dramatic sense when a married woman is ready to sacrifice her life for the sake of strong feelings. In fact, love makes Anna do inexplicable things being unable to control her emotions. On the other hand, the author demonstrates a very unusual portrayal of love as she connects it with fiction. Although “Anna entered his life on a spring afternoon, not invited, not even wanted” show that the woman appears as unexpectedly as love may come. Many facts are left, and it causes an irresistible desire to immerse the narrative to join the investigation. Eventually, love seems to be invisible, but it helps the author to describe the main characters by illustrating their specific features.
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Life is meaningless to Gordon Sills due to the lack of love which makes every day complete. Of course, from the very beginning of the narrative, the reader learns that the storyline must be related to Anna and Gordon. Even the title gives a precise hint the woman plays a significant role in the narrative. Perhaps, it is possible to assume that she is an integral part of the entire narrative as her existence and presence refer to the hidden implication of the plot. However, the author keeps the reader in tension as Anna is like a non-existent person. Nevertheless, it makes the whole story even more interesting to observe. Gordon Sills is one of the most important protagonists as he is considered to be the narrator as well. Additionally, the primary events relate to his destiny as one meeting with Avery Roda defines the truth connected with the mystery of his narrative. Even though a man does not even suspect, he represents the story of his life through the traveling in time. Being a real expert in graphology, Gordon is unsatisfied with his private life. He is divorced, has two children, has a respectable job, but something is definitely missing. Musing on his meaningless life, Gordon indicates, “I should go away for a few weeks, he thought. Just close shop and walk away from it all until he started getting overdraft notices”. It means that the protagonist realizes that he needs to change his life. Moreover, Gordon also knows that just the love of a woman can comfort his soul.
Anna is an accurate image that helps the author to create the love triangle connected with Mercer and Gordon. It is quite evident that Mercer and Gordon are two distinctive characters as they perceive love in a different way. The words “For Mercer there could not be a love strong enough to make him abandon his work” explain that Mercer’s vital goal of life is science referred to his great invention. In contrast to Gordon, he cannot sacrifice his mission for the sake of love. As for Anna, she is a romantic person who deals with art, and her soul is extremely sensitive. She longs for love like an injured creature that needs salvation. The point is that Gordon praises both Anna and love towards her being able to forgive her for her future betrayal. In this case, the most unbelievable element of the narrative is that Gordon falls in love with the woman whom he has never seen or heard before. When the man firstly becomes familiar with her charming handwriting, love fills his heart. Lastly, he reads her future intimate letters addressed to Mercer, and the content of those compels him to experience new feelings – the feelings of sincere love.
Chronicles are an integral part of the narrative as they represent the whole life of the protagonist. In the story “‘- All You Zombies –’”, Heinlein concentrates on the portrayal of the convulsive time traveling. In contrast to Wilhelm, he does not examine the significance of love. The author shows that it leads to negative consequences, and therefore, there is no place for love in the life of the protagonist. The storyline seems to be unclear as there are the so-called jumps from the present to the past or future. It is often hard to understand the author’s intentions when he mixes up different events. Moreover, one of the most difficult things to accept is the change of the gender. Firstly, the Unmarried Mother is a young man who works as a writer. Then, he travels through time and retells a horrible story of his life according to which he was a woman indeed. Being unsatisfied with his life, he often comes to the bar to drink. Once he mentions, “Nothing astonishes me” to indicate that he has experience too much in his life. Eventually, the protagonist searches for a new life, but he even cannot predict that the time travel may alter his life to the opposite direction.
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Life is unpredictable, and both narratives demonstrate that the time machine either brings love or a moral satisfaction from a new surrounding. In “‘- All You Zombies –’”, the narrator and the protagonist are the same. In fact, the Unmarried Mother is a transformed woman turned to a man after plastic surgery. Additionally, the storyline contains the paradox of life as the protagonist is his father and mother at the same time. It sounds strange, but there is only one character who travels in time, and therefore, he is the only person. The explanation is that the author represents him at various stages of her/ his life as a girl, woman, and a man. As a result, the reader concludes that the Unmarried Mother speaks to himself everywhere including the bar. As for “Forever Yours – Anna”, the speaker has no particular transformation. However, both of them hide a secret referred to their private life. It is the most essential similarity that makes these narratives alike. Undoubtedly, Gordon and the Unmarried Mother become victims of a particular experiment based on the use of the time machine. Thus, they do not belong to themselves when they finally realize that their lives are nothing more than fiction.
On the other hand, “‘- All You Zombies –’” differs from “Forever Yours – Anna” due to numerous series of time-travel journeys. Wilhelm tries to hide to the end of the narrative that the time machine will change Gordon’s life by showing his past and future. When he learns the truth, he is surprised very much. However, the man accepts this fact because of love. It means that love gives him hope to join Anna. As for Heinlein, the author entraps the reader while portraying several characters, despite the fact that all of them are one person. It seems to be impossible, but traveling in time makes wonders unknown to the reader in the beginning of the storyline. In contrast to Gordon, the Unmarried Mother misses her past while saying, “There isn’t anybody but me—Jane—here alone in the dark. I miss you dreadfully!”. These words just prove that the narrative is full of paradox closely connected with a chronological Jane’s history. Undoubtedly, namely, the time machine is a scientific technology that contributes to the development of this paradox.
In conclusion, the stories “Forever Yours – Anna” by Kate Wilhelm and “‘- All You Zombies –’”, by Robert A. Heinlein depict the role of the time machine in the life of each protagonist. Both authors show that the time travel changes the fate and destiny of Gordon Sills and the Unmarried Mother by allowing them to experience either love or a new way of living. However, such an important difference as space and the ability to travel in time a boundless amount of time reveal all the sufferings of the Unmarried Mother. As for Gordon Sills, everything is just ahead because he opens the truth at the end of the narrative. Undoubtedly, both storylines are based on a paradox which turns impossible issues to possible ones.
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