1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L’Engle

By

Title, Author & Publication

A Wrinkle in Time was written by Madeleine L’Engle and published in 1962 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux of New York.

Setting

The scenes of A Wrinkle in Time occur in the home of the protagonist and on a variety of planets. In this type of fantasy novel, the willing suspension of disbelief is essential to a deeper understanding of the story. The reader must embrace the other worlds as symbolic of larger abstract ideas.

Main Characters

Meg Murry, the protagonist of the story. Meg is 14 and considers herself a misfit among her peers. She is an adolescent lacking in maturity and confidence who embarks on a quest to find her father.
Charles Wallace Murry, Meg’s five year old brother. Charles is a genius and has some telepathic ability. He accompanies his sister on their journey.
Calvin O’Keefe, Meg’s close friend and, though popular at school, also considers himself odd next to his peers and family.
Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who & Mrs. Which, three angelic aliens who accompany the children on their journey.
IT & The Black Thing, the two antagonists of the novel. Both creatures represent ultimate evil.

Plot

A Wrinkle in Time is the story of the Murry children and their search for their missing scientist father. Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin are guided by three aliens who act as guardian angels, and who battle the force of The Black Thing as it tries to overcome the universe with evil. As the children move through space and time with the Tesseract, they are met with several challenges that require them to prove their worth. Most important is Meg’s journey to rescue her brother as it is during this time that she must overcome her fears and self-serving immaturity to succeed.

Questions and Themes to Ponder

Examine the theme of maturity.

  • How does Meg transform over the course of the book?
  • How does Charles Wallace act as a foil to Meg?
  • Why does Charles Wallace become susceptible to the influence of IT?

Examine the theme of good vs. evil.

  • Archetypes are recurring symbols that are used repeatedly in art and literature.
  • What archetypes are found in this book and how do they contribute to the development of this theme?

What roles do the Murry parents play?

  • How do the goals of IT threaten the Murry family and society at large?

Consider the role of religion in the novel.

  • Is there irony in the fact that one of the main characters is named Calvin? Why?
  • How is the Christian ethic depicted?

Possible First Sentences

“Good and evil are concepts that transcend the finite regions of time and space.”
“Fear keeps individuals from succeeding and societies from evolving.”
“Physical journeys often parallel journeys taken within oneself.”
“Maturation is a common theme in children’s literature.”

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.