A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

It was dark and stormy. Margaret Murry (Meg) was in her room in the attic. Meg was suffering in school with poor grades although she had brilliant parents. She was often bullied in school. Sandy and Dennys were her twin brothers. Her father had disappeared and she looked for him. Charles was her baby brother. Everyone else was sleep in the house. The family owned a kitten and Meg talked to it. Even their dog, Fortinbras, was barking. Mrs Buncombe was the constable’s wife. Meg walked around the house and feared that the tramp would enter their house. Charles was surprisingly awake and prepared breakfast for Meg. It was amazing. Charles was shy, but extremely intelligent inside. In the past, Meg thought her development rates were too slow. However, based on IQ tests, Charles and her fared well. Charles was so young but already so impressive. Mrs Murry was both a scientist and a beauty. That week, Meg fought with a guy and got a bruise to prove. Meg lamented that she was an oddball. Mum encouraged Meg to be patient. It turns out that Charles knew Mrs Whatsit and her two friends. Suddenly, the dog was growling at the lab door. Someone came to visit their house. It was Mrs Whatsit. Mum invited her home as she seemed lost. Meg started preparing food for Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Whatsit was new to the neighbourhood and was curious to explore. She was the one who took Mrs Buncombe’s sheets. Charles was very intelligent and sometimes people didn’t understand him. Mrs Whatsit knew about a pet called tesseract. Now, mom’s face turned pale. Everyone was surprised at how Mrs Whatsit knew about tesseract.

I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be. – Mrs Murry

Meg had a bad dream. Charles was asleep. Tesseract was a concept. Sandy and Dennys disliked Meg and Charles for their intelligence. Once, Meg was sent to the principal because she was rude in class. Meg missed her dad, who was a physicist. Meg was pissed with the principal, Mr Jenkins, as he kept asking about her dad. Charles wanted to look for Mrs Whatsit. Charles was good at mind reading and could predict what Meg and mother thought. A boy called Calvin O’Keefe came to visit them. Calvin just wanted to get away from his family as he was excellent at biology. Calvin admitted that he simply a compulsion to visit their house. Later, they all headed to a haunted house nearby. The house was mysterious. Later, they met Mrs Who. Calvin felt like he was going home.

There hasn’t been anybody, anybody in the world I could talk to. Sure, I can function on the same level as everybody else, I can hold myself down, but it isn’t me. – Calvin

I always believe things have an explanation. But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations….Just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist. – Mrs Murry

Meg felt happy even though they were exploring the woods. Meg introduced Mrs Murry to Calvin. Calvin had a difficult relationship with his parents and admire Meg for being lucky to receive love. Calvin admitted that he liked Meg’s dad from the photos provided. He did badly at physics and needed tuition. Calvin liked Meg and Charles. Sometimes, learning too many shortcuts aren’t necessarily good. Calvin was super knowledgeable. He seemed to think that talking to her family could him somewhere. Everyone was impressed by his athletic ability. Mrs Murry was sad and missed her husband. Everyone admitted that Charles understood more stuff than ordinary people. Mrs Murry admitted she was not as smart as Charles. But that was life. Mum liked Calvin too. Calvin took Meg out for a walk. Apparently, dad did top secret work for the government. Dad used to be at New Mexico and then Cape Canaveral at Florida. Later, father’s letters stopped coming. Apparently dad was on an important mission and couldn’t communicate for a while. That left everyone worried. Meg hated herself for being emotional. Calvin really liked Meg. Charles saw them and he admitted that they should look for Father. Later, Mrs Which appeared.

…But people are more than just the way they look. Difference isn’t physical. It’s in essence. – Mrs Murry

Un asno viejo sabe mas que un potro. An old ass knows more than a young colt. – Charles

Qui plus sait, plus se tait. The more a man knows, the less he talks. – Mrs Who

There was a strong breeze and there was complete darkness. Suddenly, she lost Calvin’s hand and Charles was nowhere to be seen. She felt in a void now. Her heart was thumping wildly. Later, she heard Charles exclaim ‘That was quite a trip!’ Luckily all of them were safe from the journey. Now they were all in a sunlit field and the scenery was perfect. There were the three of them there. Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. The three of them were sorry to scare her but they were serious as well. Not just their dad’s life was at stake. They were in Uriel, a planet in the spiral nebula Messier 101. Calvin was shocked at the speed they arrived. Actually, they did tesser or wrinkle for that matter. Charles knew what was going on. Their father wasn’t here unfortunately. This was a resting point to get to their dad. The ladies told Meg to be patient. Everything was safe on Uriel. Now, Mrs Whatsit transformed into a horse like figure. She would carry the children on her back. They started flying across the landscape. They all needed to sing to gain strength. They were each instructed to take a flower, which would be of use later. The flowers formed a hollow bell shape. Later, they all moved upwards. To survive, the children needs to breathe through the flowers at higher altitudes. They came upon one of Uriel’s beautiful moons. Later on, they encountered something that looked like a shadow. The atmosphere was increasingly thin. The shadow was still there. After a while, they headed down again. It was perceived that the dark thing was what dad was fighting against.

La experiencia es la madre de la cinencia. Experience is the mother of knowledge. – Mrs Who

The enemy was behind the darkness and no one could see him. Meg was crying but everyone told her to stay strong. It was time to wrinkle again so that they could appear behind the shadow. Meg was reluctant. To tesseract meant to travel in the fifth dimension. The fourth dimension was time. The tesseract would be to travel through space in the quick way. They had to travel alone this time. Her lungs were squeezed during the journey. They had arrived at a two dimensional planet and needed to leave it immediately. They all almost died. Mrs Which apologized for nearing causing their death. Meg started to worry about her mum and her twin brothers back home. They came upon a dark cavern and wanted to explore it. Later, they found a fire in the cave. Later, they met a woman wearing a beautiful turban. The lady was known as Medium. She held up a ball and the children looked into it. She showed them an image of the planet Earth. The three ladies actually chose the black thing to be on Uriel first as compared to Earth. It was the power of darkness. Some of the best fighters were already on planet Earth, like Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci etc. Dad was on a planet that had given in. She urged the children to be strong.

The Thing appeared again. Later, a light shone through the Darkness and it disappeared. Later, only stars and starlight remained. The Medium said that the Darkness can be overcome. Later, it was revealed that a star gave up its life in battle with the thing. Mrs Whatsit used to be a star. She was actually not a human. Medium was exhausted and started to sleep. Now, they wanted to continue looking for Father. The Medium showed the children a crystal ball, where they could see their mum. Meg started tearing up after seeing her mum writing. All the children kissed the Medium and thanked her. They started wrinkling again. They landed on Camazotz. The planet was scenic and lovely. The three ladies would now leave the 3 children alone to explore. Dad would be on the island. Before she parted, she gave Calvin the gift of communication, gave Meg her fault and gave the resilience of childhood to Charles. The ladies encouraged the children to stick together and go to the town together. Charles was warned not to wander around alone. The children reached the town. All the children there played in a fascinating rhythm. Calvin was starting to feel afraid. They came upon a young boy who couldn’t bounce the ball in rhythm. The mother in the house admitted that nobody drops balls as their children are all perfectly trained. Later the boy grabbed the ball from Charles and ran back into the house. Everyone seemed so afraid of the three visitors. Even the newspaper boy threw the newspapers with unerring accuracy. Apparently, to walk around the town, you need to have your entrance papers processed. They were an oriented city, where there were no trouble. The Central Central Intelligence is located here. Later on, the children saw adults on the streets as well. The children came upon a large building. No one had a clue on how to look for Father. Charles insisted that they needed passports. The people in the town were certainly not robots. Charles attempted to perform mind reading, but failed to succeed. Calvin had a feeling that entering the building would bring nothing but danger.

The children held each others’ hands. A man mentioned that they needed to present S papers in the B slot in the wall. He brought them to a place where they would be re-processed. They entered a room which was full of machines. They were brought to a man on a platform. That man had eyes with a reddish glow. The man admitted that they would have no reason to fight him as he would save them from pain and trouble. The man started reciting the multiplication table. Meg revealed that they were here to look for her dad. Charles, in a moment of rage, went to punch the man. Charles mentioned that he couldn’t feel him, like it was someone other than him that was speaking. After Charles stared at the man’s eyes, he seemed to be hypnotized. However, Meg managed to stop him. Meg requested for food from the man but did not promise to stop interrupting him. There were men who entered and brought a roast turkey. The food tasted alright. The man wanted to read Charles’ mind. After a session, Charles seemed to be possessed now. It wasn’t the old Charles anymore.

The man explained that Charles was a happy man now. Calvin suggested that they hold on to him now. To Charles, he said that the 3 ladies were the real enemies. Calvin gripped Charles and did not let go. Charles liked the planet for its stability and lack of any troubles. The man indeed hypnotized Charles. The man had the identity of a Prime Coordinator. Charles would lead the way and Calvin and Meg would follow. Calvin would try to use the gift of communication with Charles. In Camazotz, there was no illness and deformity. They entered a room now. Charles could make walls open now. In their town, everyone was alike and differences create problems. Calvin liked being different. IT was the boss and he was the Happiest Sadist. Charles threatened to send them to IT if they didn’t follow him. Everything was efficient in Camazotz. They saw that the boy who couldn’t bounce the ball was undergoing more training. Later, they were brought into a transparent column. It was Dad!

Father? What is a father? Merely another misconception. If you feel the need of a father, then I would suggest that you turn to IT. – Charles

We let no one suffer. It is so much kinder simply to annihilate anyone who is ill. Nobody has weeks and weeks of runny noses and sore throats. Rather than endure such discomfort they are simply put to sleep. – Charles

But nobody’s ever happy here, either. Maybe if you aren’t unhappy sometimes you don’t know how to be happy. – Meg

There was a layer of glass and they couldn’t enter it. Dad didn’t look at them. He looked like a shipwrecked sailor. It was like a peephole. One could look at him, but he couldn’t look outside. Later, Charles punched Meg when she was getting violent. Charles said the only way to save father would be to go to IT. Calvin kept staring at Charles and that made him uncomfortable. Charles was shaken and saw at the corner whimpering. Meg quickly wore the glasses that Mrs Who left behind. Later, she was in the transparent door and got through it. Meg hugged her dad. Dad responded her and he seemed elated too. Dad was apparently blind and couldn’t see them. Dad tried the glasses and finally he could see. Finally both of them used the glasses to exit the transparent column. Charles proclaimed that ‘IT was not pleased’. Dad was insistent that Meg shouldn’t have to see IT. They were all heading to see IT now. Everything seemed to be very frightening and unpredictable. IT was actually a brain. It was a real nauseating sight. Everything was in a constant rhythm and if anyone gave in, you would be under control of IT. IT’s power was too strong and even anger wouldn’t help her. Meg started reciting nursery rhymes, which didn’t work. She kept arguing against what Charles and IT had to say. Meg would now recite the periodic table. However, it was too rhythmic. Dad later tessered together with Meg.

Calvin and her dad were still around her. Thankfully, Meg was still alive and kicking. IT was unused to being refused. It was extremely difficult to fight IT because he made you feel it was wrong to fight him. Charles got possessed because he thought he could go into IT and then return. Time seemed to be inverted on Camazotz. Matter and energy were the same thing. Meg finally regained consciousness. Charles was not with them. They didn’t know where they were now. Meg wanted to return to Camazotz so as to save Charles. Meg was devastated. She was angry at Dad for not being able to tesser properly. There were 3 alien like creatures heading to them now. They had long tentacles. The creature started to cradle Meg and Meg suddenly felt good and safe.

The beast started talking to Calvin. Dad began to recount his tale. The beast wanted to kidnap Meg. They claimed that Meg would be in trouble. Meg felt a sense of security in the beast’s presence. To her, the beasts were good. The beasts had saved her, not her dad. Father and Calvin were somewhere else eating. Meg admitted that humans couldn’t see without light. The beasts agreed to help Meg find Charles. Their advice would be for Meg start behaving in a calmer manner. The beasts started feeding Meg and taking excellent care of her. They started singing. Aunt Beast was asleep. Their planet was Lxchel. Aunt Beast bathed and dressed her. She took them to Calvin and Mr Murry. Everyone was devising of a plan to save Charles. Suddenly, Mrs Which’s voice could be heard.

Life is like a sonnet, with a strict form, but freedom within it. You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you. – Mrs Whatsit

All the 3 ladies appeared now. Mrs Whatsit couldn’t do anything on Camazotz. Calvin volunteered to go save Charles. Meg volunteered to go to save her brother. They kept quarrelling over who should eventually go down. Aunt Beast wanted to go and help Meg too. Everyone said goodbye to Meg. Only Mrs Which would be going with Meg. Mrs Whatsit gave Meg love and her blessings. Later, Meg tessered to the same hill on Camazotz. Meg was all alone and started walking to the doomed building. The trick, Meg thought, would be to resist IT. Finally, she encountered IT again. Charles was still possessed. The trick was to constantly be angry at IT. Love was something IT didn’t have. Meg suddenly decided to hug Charles and confessed her love for him. That helped to conquer IT. Later, they were all tessered back to their home. The twins and their mum were alright. The entire family rejoiced and were reunited. The three ladies came to say their goodbyes, before leaving.


I heard a famous author say once that the hardest part of writing a book was making yourself sit down at the typewriter. I know what he meant. Unless a writer works constantly to improve and refine the tools of his trade, they will be useless instruments if and when the moment of inspiration, of revelation, does come. – Madeleine L’Engle

Very few children have any problem with the world of the imagination; it’s their own world, the world of their daily life, and it’s our loss that so many of us grow out of it. – Madeleine L’Engle

A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe. – Madeleine L’Engle



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