The Realization of Time's Importance in Mitch Albom's 'The Time Keeper'
Mitch Albom, the author of several life-changing books, conveys the theme that, there is a time when all human beings learn the value of time. His novel The Time Keeper states that, ‘Man alone measure time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.’ (Albom, The Time Keeper). Many people in the world today, do not realize that time is around them everywhere. Time has become so valuable, that it became a necessity in life. There are several negative and positive outcomes of keeping track of time. For instance, the negative results consist of missing out on life’s precious moments, and most importantly, worrying about time going too fast or too slow. Positive outcomes of timekeeping are that one’s life becomes further organized. They have to remember specific dates, for birthdays, anniversaries and much more. So what happens when they know that time is dwindling? Will they learn how to make the most out of it or will they do everything they can to create more?
Albom’s theme is presented in this quote and in his novel The Time Keeper, by his use of characterization and conflict. In The Time Keeper, Victor discovers that his time on Earth is limited. He is greedy for not understanding that eventually, life ends, and he looks for a solution that will grant him more time. Victor suffers from a terminal disease, in which his kidneys begin to fail. He tries to avoid death by chronically freezing his body in hopes that in a future lifetime, he will be brought back to life, remaining with his wealth. However, he fails to understand that in this future life, everything will change, he will no longer have all of those he loved. Victor then meets Dor, who teaches him the importance of time, by showing him his future. In the book Dor states, “With endless time, nothing is special. With no loss or sacrifice, we can’t appreciate what we have.” (Albom, 205). After Victor sees his future, he understands the true meaning of time. Victor then feels guilty after knowing that he had chosen to follow this path, without his wife. “In his race to cheat death, he’d trusted scientists more than his wife. He had denied her their final intimacy. He had not even left a body to bury. How would she grieve now?’ (Albom, 200). In the end, Victor learns that time is precious and that he should have appreciated every second of it.
Mitch Albom also uses the literary technique of conflict to convey his theme. People tend to take time for granted, is the ultimate conflict in The Time Keeper. It may be because they do not understand the true meaning of life, it may also be because they do not recognize that our time is limited. One does not learn how to appreciate time until they comprehend the reality of death. In the book, Dor describes his life-changing moment as, “Victor wanted an eternity. It had taken Dor all these centuries to comprehend the last thing the old man had told him, the thing he shared with Victor now. ‘There is a reason God limits our days.’ ‘Why?’ ‘To make each one precious.’” (Albom, 206). All humans may not understand the reality about time and life, but there is always a moment when they will. It took Dor thousands of years to learn the importance of time. Regularly, it takes individuals to realize this when they know that the end is coming. This event will ultimately lead to a person to decide what is more valuable in life.
To sum it up, all human beings are blind to the reality. Individuals do not realize, but they count time. It could be from the moment they get up, at what time to catch the bus, counting down the time until class ends, timing themselves for how long it takes them to run a lap and many more. Does one recognize that they do this? Or does it become second nature? Individuals fail to understand that time runs out. If one were to know that their time on Earth is diminishing, they would most likely live life differently.
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