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    A Wrinkle in Time

    wingmanof light
    wingmanof light

    Posts : 162
    Join date : 2010-12-20
    Age : 50

    A Wrinkle in Time Empty A Wrinkle in Time

    Post  wingmanof light Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:17 pm


    This movie explains this world best.
    A Wrinkle in Time
    How we cite the quotes:
    Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
    [Mrs. Murry] "No, Meg. Don't hope it was a dream. 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." (2.7)
    It's kind of funny that Mrs. Murry uses the word "learned" here, since what she's learned is that you can't know everything. Instead of learning as gaining knowledge, here it's recognizing a lack of knowledge.
    Meg smoothed out the paper and studied it. "Do they care how you do it?" she asked. "I mean, can you work it out your own way?"

    "Well, sure, as long as I understand and get the answers right."

    "Well, we have to do it their way. Now look, Calvin, don't you see how much easier it would be if you did itthis way?" Her pencil flew over the paper.

    "Hey!" Calvin said. "Hey! I think I get it. Show me once more on another one."

    Again Meg's pencil was busy. "All you have to remember is that every ordinary fraction can be converted into an infinite periodic decimal fraction. See? So 3/7 is 0.428571."

    "This is the craziest family." Calvin grinned at her. "I suppose I should stop being surprised by now, but you're supposed to be dumb in school, always being called up on the carpet."

    "Oh, I am."

    "The trouble with Meg and math," Mrs. Murry said briskly, "is that Meg and her father used to play with numbers and Meg learned far too many short cuts. So when they want her to do problems the long way around at school she gets sullen and stubborn and sets up a fine mental block for herself." (3.38-45)
    Meg's way of doing math is sort of like a tesseract – a shortcut that not everyone understands, but if you do get it, it becomes incredibly tedious to have to go the long way around. This passage also highlights the difference between Meg and her teachers: she seems to feel that the results are the important thing, and so long as she gets the right answer she should be golden; her teachers, however, are more concerned with the process, and with Meg following their set of rules to get to the result rather than the result itself.
    "What's a megaparsec?" Calvin asked.

    "One of Father's nicknames for me," Meg said. "It's also 3.26 million light years."

    "What's E=mc2?"

    "Einstein's equation."

    "What's E stand for?"





    "The square of the velocity of light in centimeters per second."

    "By what countries is Peru bounded?"

    "I haven't the faintest idea. I think it's in South America somewhere."

    "What's the capital of New York?"

    "Well, New York City, of course!"

    "Who wrote Boswell's Life of Johnson?"

    "Oh, Calvin, I'm not any good at English."

    Calvin groaned and turned to Mrs. Murry. "I see what you mean. Her I wouldn't want to teach." (3.49-65)
    For all her math whizzery, Meg apparently lacks basic logic skills. ("Who wrote Boswell's Life of Johnson?" is basically the same question as "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" - you shouldn't need to know anything about Boswell, Johnson, or Grant to be able to answer.) Perhaps Meg's lopsided knowledge is in part due to a link between learning and affection – the things her beloved father teaches her stick, while the lessons from her hated teachers don't.
    [Meg] "Do you think things always have an explanation?"

    [Murry] "Yes. I believe that they do. But I think that with our human limitations we're not always able to understand the explanations. But you see, Meg, just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist." (3.83-84)
    This is the flip side to the first passage quoted above – not only can things exist without our understanding why they do, but just because we don't understand doesn't mean it doesn't make sense in a way we just don't get.
    Meg sighed heavily, took off her glasses and twirled them, put them back on again. "Well, I know Charles Wallace is different, and I know he's something more. I guess I'll just have to accept it without understanding it." (3.101)
    This sounds a lot like faith – taking something as true even if it doesn't make sense logically or if you don't have enough evidence to support it as fact.
    For a brief, illuminating second Meg's face had the listening, probing expression that was so often seen on Charles's. "I see!" she cried. "I got it! For just a moment I got it! I can't possibly explain it now, but there for a second I saw it!" (5.37)
    This moment suggests that knowledge is independent of, and perhaps even hampered by, language – you can know something without necessarily being able to put it into words.
    "Who have our fighters been?" Calvin asked.

    "Oh, you must know them, dear," Mrs. Whatsit said.

    Mrs. Who's spectacles shone out at them triumphantly, "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."

    "Jesus!" Charles Wallace said. "Why of course, Jesus!"

    "Of course!" Mrs. Whatsit said. "Go on, Charles, love. There were others. All your great artists. They've been lights for us to see by."

    "Leonardo da Vinci?" Calvin suggested tentatively. "And Michelangelo?"

    "And Shakespeare," Charles Wallace called out, "and Bach! And Pasteur and Madame Curie and Einstein!"

    Now Calvin's voice rang with confidence. "And Schweitzer and Gandhi and Buddha and Beethoven and Rembrandt and St. Francis!"

    "Now you, Meg," Mrs. Whatsit ordered.

    "Oh, Euclid, I suppose." Meg was in such an agony of impatience that her voice grated irritably. "And Copernicus." (5.114-123)
    This presents a small-c catholic view of wisdom – the list of those fighting against the darkness includes not only philosophers and scientists, but also artists and human rights activists. This passage suggests that writing a symphony or sonnet can bring as much good to humanity as a scientific or mathematical discovery.
    "If we needed passports or papers Mrs. Whatsit would have told us so," Charles Wallace said.

    Calvin put his hands on his hips and looked down at Charles Wallace. "Now look here, old sport. I love those three old girls just as much as you do, but I'm not sure they know everything."

    "They know a lot more than we do."

    "Granted. But you know Mrs. Whatsit talked about having been a star. I wouldn't think that being a star would give her much practice in knowing about people. When she tried to be a person she came pretty close to goofing it up. There was never anybody on land or sea like Mrs. Whatsit the way she got herself up."

    "She was just having fun," Charles said. "If she'd wanted to look like you or Meg I'm sure she could have."

    Calvin shook his head. "I'm not so sure. And these people seem to be people, if you know what I mean. They aren't like us, I grant you that, there's something very off-beat about them. But they're lots more like ordinary people than the ones on Uriel." (6.154-159)
    The novel frequently reminds us of the limitations of human knowledge, and especially of Meg's knowledge, but this suggests that "higher" beings have different knowledge, rather than simply more knowledge, and that humans know a thing or two about a thing or two that a star just wouldn't think of.
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident!" she shouted, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    As she cried out the words she felt a mind moving in on her own, felt IT seizing, squeezing her brain. Then she' realized that Charles Wallace was speaking, or being spoken through by IT.

    "But that's exactly what we have on Camazotz. Complete equality. Everybody exactly alike."

    For a moment her brain reeled with confusion. Then came a moment of blazing truth. "No!" she cried triumphantly. "Like and equal are not the same thing at all!"

    "Good girl, Meg!" her father shouted at her.

    But Charles Wallace continued as though there had been no interruption. "In Camazotz all are equal. In Camazotz everybody is the same as everybody else," but he gave her no argument, provided no answer, and she held on to her moment of revelation.

    Like and equal are two entirely different things.

    For the moment she had escaped from the power of IT. (9.137-144)
    Why does this particular revelation get Meg out of IT's power? Is it just because she has an independent thought, and holds on to it even though IT opposes her? Or is the content of the thought also a factor? Why would being able to tell the difference between "like" and "equal" be especially threatening to IT?
    Meg could hear her father sigh. "Then it was my turn. I went. And here I am. A wiser and a humbler man. I'm sure I haven't been gone two years. Now that you've come I have some hope that I may be able to return in time. One thing I have to tell the others is that we know nothing." (10.38)
    It's interesting that Mr. Murry links wisdom and humility. Rather than knowledge being a source of pride, here it's a recognition of one's own limitations and previous mistakes.
    A Wrinkle in Time Appearances Quotes
    How we cite the quotes:
    Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
    —Why can't I hide it, too? Meg thought. Why do I always have to show everything? (1.13)
    Meg's problem with her appearance is not only that it gives a false impression, but sometimes that it's too true – her behavior shows more than she wants to of what she's feeling.
    "I hate being an oddball," Meg said. "It's hard on Sandy and Dennys, too. I don't know if they're really like everybody else, or if they're just able to pretend they are. I try to pretend, but it isn't any help."

    "You're much too straightforward to be able to pretend to be what you aren't," Mrs. Murry said. (1.66-67)
    Normality here is a matter of appearances: if you can act normal enough to fool people into thinking that you're just like them, then that's all you need to fit in.
    "What gives around here?" Calvin asked. "I was told you couldn't talk."

    "Thinking I'm a moron gives people something to feel smug about," Charles Wallace said. "Why should I disillusion them?" (2.105-106)
    While the twins act normal to fit in, and Meg tries but fails, Charles Wallace purposely avoids trying to make people think he's just like everyone else. Is this dishonest, or just a smart survival strategy?
    "But Charles Wallace doesn't look different from anybody else."

    "No, Meg, but people are more than just the way they look. Charles Wallace's difference isn't physical. It's in essence." (3.99-100)
    You can't judge a book by its cover. The insistence on Charles Wallace's essential difference is never quite explained – and if it's not physical, not based in something material in his makeup that anyone could look at and try to understand, then where is it?
    She contented herself with looking at Mrs. Whatsit. Even though she was used to Mrs. Whatsit's odd getup (and the very oddness of it was what made her seem so comforting), she realized with a fresh shock that it was not Mrs. Whatsit herself that she was seeing at all. The complete, the true Mrs. Whatsit, Meg realized, was beyond human understanding. What she saw was only the game Mrs. Whatsit was playing; it was an amusing and charming game, a game full of both laughter and comfort, but it was only the tiniest facet of all the things Mrs. Whatsit could be. (6.17)
    This novel seems very invested in promoting a distrust of appearances – people and people-like beings are always turning out to be much more than they seem to be. What we think of as reality is actually just a collection of fragments and facets from the larger reality that we can never directly access because it's just too big for our tiny heads. The "could" in the last sentence is interesting – it suggests that "the complete, the true" exists in the realm of possibility, of things that might happen rather than things that have happened or are happening.
    "Of course our food, being synthetic, is not superior to your messes of beans and bacon and so forth, but I assure you that it's far more nourishing, and though it has no taste of its own, a slight conditioning is all that is necessary to give you the illusion that you are eating a roast turkey dinner." (7.118)
    This is Camazotz in a nutshell – it looks good, and may even be good for you, but it's all fake. Contrast this to the food on Aunt Beast's planet, which looks gross but tastes delicious, and brings Meg back to health.
    He was dressed like Charles Wallace; he looked like Charles Wallace; he had the same sandy brown hair, the same face that had not yet lost its baby roundness. Only the eyes were different, for the black was still swallowed up in blue. But it was far more than this that made Meg feel that Charles Wallace was gone, that the little boy in his place was only a copy of Charles Wallace, only a doll. (8.1)
    Creepy, in the way only eerily realistic dolls can be. This episode recalls Mrs. Murry's earlier description of Charles Wallace as much more than his appearance. It's interesting too that Meg thinks this before she gets a gander at his personality transplant – it's not how he acts, it's not how he looks, but there's something else that is Charles that this fake version is missing.
    One of them came up to Meg and squatted down on its huge haunches beside her, and she felt utter loathing and revulsion as it reached out a tentacle to touch her face.

    But with the tentacle came the same delicate fragrance that moved across her with the breeze, and she felt a soft, tingling warmth go all through her that momentarily assuaged her pain. She felt suddenly sleepy.

    I must look as strange to it as it looks to me, she thought drowsily, and then realized with a shock that of course the beast couldn't see her at all. Nevertheless a reassuring sense of safety flowed through her with the warmth which continued to seep deep into her as the beast touched her. Then it picked her up, cradling her in two of its four arms. (10.86-88)
    Meg's other senses don't play her false the way her sight does – smell and touch give her a more accurate sense of the beasts than vision. Meg realizes that appearance is relative, and so is normality – something the self-loathing Meg huddled in the attic at the book's beginning wasn't able to see.
    But she realized now that here on this planet there was no need for color, that the grays and browns merging into each other were not what the beasts knew, and that what she, herself, saw was only the smallest fraction of what the planet was really like. It was she who was limited by her senses, not the blind beasts, for they must have senses of which she could not even dream. (11.74)
    It's not just that the beasts have more senses than Meg, it's also that the senses she does have deceive her, like her sight did with her first impression of the beasts. As with Mrs. Whatsit's multifaceted identity, there's a reality out there that Meg can't access because her body and mind just aren't set up to do so.
    "We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal." (11.85)
    This sets up a hierarchy – the unseen is more important than the seen, more worthy of the beasts' time, because it doesn't exist in time. It's funny that the beast still uses the verb "look" to describe what they do – the metaphor of seeing as knowing comes in even as the physical act of seeing is denied.

    A Wrinkle in Time Language and Communication Quotes
    How we cite the quotes:
    Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
    [Charles Wallace] "School awful again today?" he asked after a while.

    [Meg] "Yes. I got sent to Mr. Jenkins. He made snide remarks about Father."

    Charles Wallace nodded sagely. "I know."

    "How do you know?"

    Charles Wallace shook his head. "I can't quite explain. You tell me, that's all."

    "But I never say anything. You just seem to know."

    "Everything about you tells me," Charles said. [...]

    "You mean you read our minds?"

    Charles Wallace looked troubled. "I don't think it's that. It's being able to understand a sort of language, like sometimes if I concentrate very hard I can understand the wind talking with the trees. You tell me, you see, sort of inad— inadvertently. That's a good word, isn't it? I got Mother to look it up in the dictionary for me this morning." (2.71-81)
    For Charles Wallace, language is more than words, and people can communicate without consciously intending to do so. It's almost like Charles Wallace has a sixth sense – which on the one hand is comforting to Meg, because he understands what's wrong with her, but on the other hand is a little creepy – what if she wants to keep her troubles to herself?
    "Mrs. Who, I wish you'd stop quoting!" Charles Wallace sounded very annoyed.

    Mrs. Whatsit adjusted her stole. "But she finds it so difficult to verbalize, Charles dear. It helps her if she can quote instead of working out words of her own." (4.28-29)
    Language here is something to borrow. It's as if once something has been verbalized, it's out there ready for anyone to use. How does Mrs. Who's quoting of others compare to IT's speaking its words through other people?
    "She keeps thinking she can explain things in words," Mrs. Who said. "Qui plus salt, plus se tait. French, you know. The more a man knows, the less he talks."

    "But she has to use words for Meg and Calvin," Charles reminded Mrs. Who. "If you brought them along, they have a right to know what's going on." (4.47-48)
    This suggests a paradox: the only things worth knowing are the ones that can't be put into words, but those are also the only things worth trying to explain.
    "What are they singing?" Meg asked excitedly.

    Mrs. Whatsit shook her beautiful head. "It won't go into your words. I can't possibly transfer it to your words. Are you getting any of it, Charles?"

    Charles Wallace sat very still on the broad back, on his face an intently listening look, the look he had when he delved into Meg or his mother. "A little. Just a very little. But I think I could get more in time."

    "Yes. You could learn it, Charles. But there isn't time, We can only stay here long enough to rest up and make a few preparations."

    Meg hardly listened to her. "I want to know what they're saying! I want to know what it means."

    "Try, Charles," Mrs. Whatsit urged. "Try to translate. You can let yourself go, now. You don't have to hold back."

    "But I can't!" Charles Wallace cried in an anguished voice. "I don't know enough! Not yet!"

    "Then try to work with me and I'll see if I can't verbalize it a little for them." (4.85-92)
    It's mysterious how the process of learning this strange language works – it's not as if Charles Wallace is thumbing through a dictionary or putting a babelfish in his ear. It seems that all that's needed for him to pick up this new language is time and attention – it's almost as if it's something he already understands, he just has to match up the new means of expression with what he already knows.
    Silence again. Not a word. It was as though the shadow had somehow reached out with its dark power and touched them so that they were incapable of speech. (4.138)
    This might be foreshadowing the way that the humans fight against IT with words: nursery rhymes, snatches of historical documents, etc.
    Mrs. Whatsit sighed. "Explanations are not easy when they are about things for which your civilization still has no words." (5.10)
    How do you explain something without words? It seems like Meg & Co. are engaged in a perpetual game of charades, trying to figure out what's going on around them without being able to just talk it out.
    Charles Wallace stared after him. "What is it?" he asked Meg and Charles. "There was something funny about the way he talked, as though—well, as though he weren't really doing the talking. Know what I mean?" (6.140)
    Camazotz links speech with identity – the people on that planet don't have independent selves, so they don't have independent speech. One wonders whether IT controls all of them directly, or whether they're like robots, trotting out their limited speech patterns in response to stimuli.
    "And by the way, my children," he continued blandly, "you don't need to vocalize verbally with me, you know. I can understand you quite as well as you can understand me.

    Charles Wallace put his hands on his hips defiantly. "The spoken word is one of the triumphs of man," he proclaimed, "and I intend to continue using it, particularly with people I don't trust." (7.91-92)
    As with Charles Wallace's reading of Meg's mind earlier, communication that bypasses the spoken word raises issues of privacy and independence. Charles Wallace's insistence on speaking out loud even though he doesn't have to is an assertion of his independence from the man with the red eyes.
    "Well, we can't see without it," Meg said, realizing that she was completely unable to explain vision and light and dark. How can you explain sight on a world where no one has ever seen and where there is no need of eyes? "Well, on this planet," she fumbled, "you have a sun, don't you?"

    "A most wonderful sun, from which comes our warmth, and the rays which give us our flowers, our food, our music, and all the things which make life and growth."

    "Well," Meg said, "when we are turned toward the sun—our earth, our planet, I mean, toward our sun—we receive its light. And when we're turned away from it, it is night. And if we want to see we have to use artificial lights."

    "Artificial lights," the beast sighed. "How very complicated life on your planet must be. Later on you must try to explain some more to me." (11.53-56)
    Meg's experience trying to explain light to Aunt Beast suggests that language is founded on shared knowledge – if someone literally doesn't see the world the same way as you, it's very difficult to find the words that will make them understand your meaning.
    "Oh, dear, it is so difficult to explain things to you, small one. And I know now that it is not just because you are a child. The other two are as hard to reach into as you are. What can I tell you that will mean anything to you? Good helps us, the stars help us, perhaps what you would call light helps us, love helps us. Oh, my child, I cannot explain! This is something you just have to know or not know." (11.83)
    Aunt Beast has just as much trouble explaining as Meg does. How might one come to knowledge, if having others explain something is not an option?
    A Wrinkle in Time Fate and Free Will Quotes
    How we cite the quotes:
    Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
    [Calvin] "When I get this feeling, this compulsion, I always do what it tells me. I can't explain where it comes from or how I get it, and it doesn't happen very often. But I obey it. And this afternoon I had a feeling that I must come over to the haunted house. That's all I know, kid. I'm not holding anything back. Maybe it's because I'm supposed to meet you. You tell me." (2.121)
    Mrs. Who later says that Calvin is not her idea, but she thinks he's a good one, suggesting that perhaps one of the other Mrs. Ws was responsible for Calvin's compulsion. Is pulling people around like that any different from what goes down on Camazotz?
    [Meg] "If Charles Wallace is a sport, I think I'm a biological mistake." Moonlight flashed against her braces as she spoke. (3.173)
    Meg sees her identity as fate – she is what she is, she can't help it, and she'll never be able to change. Does the development of her character over the course of the book support or deny this belief?
    "But what's going to happen?" Meg's voice trembled. "Oh, please, Mrs. Which, tell us what's going to happen!"

    "Wee wwill cconnttinnue tto ffightt!" (5.110-11)
    Meg wants to know the future, and for once Mrs. Which obliges. It seems that her prediction kind of makes itself happen by her very act of predicting it. Would Meg be able to continue to keep fighting if she didn't have this reassurance from Mrs. Which about what they're going to do?
    Calvin reached out and caught both Charles and Meg by the arm. "You remember when we met, you asked me why I was there? And I told you it was because I had a compulsion, a feeling I just had to come to that particular place at that particular moment?"

    "Yes, sure."

    "I've got another feeling. Not the same kind, a different one, a feeling that if we go into that building we're going into terrible danger." (6.170-172)
    On the one hand, duh, of course it's going to be dangerous. On the other, this raises the question of how much free will the kids have in this situation. Is it really an option for them to turn back at this point?
    "Now, my dears," the words continued, "I shall of course have no need of recourse to violence, but I thought perhaps it would save you pain if I showed you at once that it would do you no good to try to oppose me. You see, what you will soon realize is that there is no need to fight me. Not only is there no need, but you will not have the slightest desire to do so. For why should you wish to fight someone who is here only to save you pain and trouble? For you, as well as for the rest of all the happy, useful people on this planet, I, in my own strength, am willing to assume all the pain, all the responsibility, all the burdens of thought and decision." (7.62)
    Camazotz, and IT, are decidedly on the side of fate (in IT's case, for other people more than for itself). IT makes the case that free will brings only suffering and anxiety – if you just do what you're told, you never have to worry whether you're doing the right thing. It makes a certain amount of sense.
    The man lifted his lips into a smile, and his smile was the most horrible thing Meg had ever seen. "Why don't you trust me, Charles? Why don't you trust me enough to come in and find out what I am? I am peace and utter rest. I am freedom from all responsibility. To come in to me is the last difficult decision you need ever make." (7.148)
    "Freedom from all responsibility" suggests the moral element in the fate vs. free will debate – if people only do what's fated to happen, can they be held morally responsible for their actions? Even choices, however, are shaped by influences beyond an individual's control – so what does that mean for moral responsibility?
    "Nobody suffers here," Charles intoned. "Nobody is ever unhappy."

    "But nobody's ever happy, either," Meg said earnestly. "Maybe if you aren't unhappy sometimes you don't know how to be happy." (8.86-87)
    What is IT's definition of happiness, and how does it differ from Meg's?
    "You will just have to take my word for it, Margaret," came the cold, flat voice from Charles Wallace. "IT wants you and IT will get you. Don't forget that I, too, am part of IT, now. You know I wouldn't have done IT if IT weren't the right thing to do." (9.23)
    Here IT, through Charles Wallace, is suggesting that IT's desires are fate: IT wanted Charles Wallace, and IT got him; IT wants Meg, so IT will get her too, and she should just give up now because resistance is futile.
    "There hasn't been time for anything. Everything's awful." Despair settled like a stone in the pit of Meg's stomach. She had been so certain that the moment she found her father everything would be all right. Everything would be settled. All the problems would be taken out of her hands. She would no longer be responsible for anything.

    And instead of this happy and expected outcome, they seemed to be encountering all kinds of new troubles. (9.103-104)
    Up to this point Meg hasn't necessarily wanted free control over the situation, she just wanted to turn things over to a more benevolent dictator than IT. In what ways does Meg take control of her own free will over the course of the novel?
    "Can't she see what's going to happen?" Calvin asked.

    "Oh, not in this kind of thing." Mrs. Whatsit sounded surprised at his question. "If we knew ahead of time what was going to happen we'd be—we'd be like the people on Camazotz, with no lives of our own, with everything all planned and done for us. How can I explain it to you? Oh, I know. In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet." [...]

    "You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?"

    "Yes." Mrs. Whatsit said. "You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you." (12.58-73)
    So fate doesn't control our actions, but we're not entirely free either – the trick is to make our voices heard within the limitations placed on us, and perhaps even make something beautiful out of our restrictions.
    A Wrinkle in Time Good vs. Evil Quotes
    How we cite the quotes:
    Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
    Meg looked. The dark shadow was still there. It had not lessened or dispersed with the coming of night. And where the shadow was the stars were not visible.

    What could there be about a shadow that was so terrible that she knew that there had never been before or ever would be again, anything that would chill her with a fear that was beyond shuddering, beyond crying or screaming, beyond the possibility of comfort? (4.131-132)
    The focus on time here is interesting – the Black Thing is not just the worst thing at this moment, but the worst thing that every was or ever will be. It's interesting too that the text focuses on Meg. On the one hand, it makes sense, since she's our window into the text (see "Narrator Point of View"), but since the text has also emphasized the limitations on her understanding, focusing on the Black Thing being the worst thing she could experience doesn't close off the option of there being something so bad it's beyond Meg's ability to comprehend it.
    Calvin turned, rejecting the dark Thing that blotted out the light of the stars. "Make it go away, Mrs. Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil." (4.136)
    Calvin's reaction seems almost visceral – without any knowledge of what the Black Thing is or does, he immediately judges it to be evil. Perhaps evil is beyond reason?
    Again Mrs. Which's voice reverberated through the cave. "Therre willl nno llonggerr bee sso manyy pplleasanntt thinggss too llookk att iff rressponssible ppeoplle ddo nnott ddoo ssomethingg abboutt tliee unnppleassanntt oness." (5.85)
    Mrs. Which points out that there's no opting out of the good vs. evil smackdown, because everyone will be affected by the outcome.
    "It's the Thing!" Charles Wallace cried. "It's the Dark Thing we saw from the mountain peak on Uriel when we were riding on Mrs. Whatsit's back!"

    "Did it just come?" Meg asked in agony, unable to take her eyes from the sickness of the shadow which darkened the beauty of the earth. "Did it just come while we've been gone?"

    Mrs. Which's voice seemed very tired. "Ttell herr," she said to Mrs. Whatsit.

    Mrs. Whatsit sighed. "No, Meg. It hasn't just come. It has been there for a great many years. That is why your planet is such a troubled one." (5.100-103)
    In a way this harkens over to the fate vs. free will debate happening next door to good vs. evil – if people do bad things because there's a black cloud over their planet, are they really responsible? What role does choice play in how the Black Thing influences a society?
    "But what is it?" Calvin demanded. "We know that it's evil, but what is it?"

    "Yyouu hhave ssaidd itt!" Mrs. Which's voice rang out. "Itt iss Eevill. Itt iss thee Ppowers of Ddarrkknesss!" (5.108-109)
    Mrs. Which's answer is circular: it's evil 'cause, well, you know, it's evil.
    Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure. Then, slowly, the shining dwindled until it, too, was gone, and there was nothing but stars and starlight. No shadows. No fear. Only the stars and the clear darkness of space, quite different from the fearful darkness of the Thing. (6.4)
    It's interesting that the defeat of the Black Thing doesn't lead to the universe being lit up like a baseball stadium, but rather to an absence of unnatural darkness. It's almost like the battle isn't so much between evil and good as between evil and the normal or the natural.
    Without warning Meg was swept into nothingness again. This time the nothingness was interrupted by a feeling of clammy coldness such as she had never felt before. The coldness deepened and swirled all about her and through her, and was filled with a new and strange kind of darkness that was a completely tangible thing, a thing that wanted to eat and digest her like some enormous malignant beast of prey. (6.68)
    The digestion metaphor foreshadows what's going to happen on Camazotz – IT doesn't want to destroy the people around IT, but to incorporate them into itself. Why?
    She teetered on the see-saw of love and hate, and the Black Thing pushed her down into hate. "You don't even know where we are!" she cried out at her father. "Well never see Mother or the twins again! We don't know where earth is! Or even where Camazotz is! We're lost out in space! What are you going to do!" She did not realize that she was as much in the power of the Black Thing as Charles Wallace. (10.67)
    Meg's experience suggests that evil is not an all-or-nothing proposition – even though she didn't give in to IT, she's still touched by IT's evil. While on the one hand the materiality of the Black Thing as an entity that is located in specific places seems to divide the world into good and evil, Meg's crankiness suggests that matters are not so simple.
    I hope I don't smell awful to it, she thought. But then she knew with a deep sense of comfort that even if she did smell awful the beasts would forgive her. As the tall figure cradled her she could feel the frigid stiffness of her body relaxing against it. This bliss could not come to her from a thing like IT. IT could only give pain, never relieve it. The beasts must be good. They had to be good. She sighed deeply, like a very small child, and suddenly she was asleep. (11.38)
    Meg's morality at this moment is based in her senses – pain bad, pleasure good. And, in these circumstances, she's right. What else in the book supports or denies this approach to morality?
    Aunt Beast spoke to the others. "The child is distraught. Don't judge her harshly. She was almost taken by the Black Thing. Sometimes we can't know what spiritual damage it leaves even when physical recovery is complete." (11.104)
    It's like not only Meg's body, but her "spirit" are the battleground for this fight between good and evil – even when there's not active fighting going on, the damage remains.
    A Wrinkle in Time Love Quotes
    How we cite the quotes:
    Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
    "How do you know?" Meg had demanded. "How do you know I'm not dumb? Isn't it just because you love me?"

    "I love you, but that's not what tells me. Mother and I've given you a number of tests, you know." (1.40-41)
    Meg almost seems to be putting science over affection here: she'd rather have her parents think that she's smart because of factual evidence than because they care about her. As Calvin points out later, she's so used to her family's love for her that she pretty much takes it for granted. How does this change by the end of the book?
    Charles Wallace slipped his hand confidingly in Meg's, and the sweet, little-boy gesture warmed her so that she felt the tense knot inside her begin to loosen. Charles loves me at any rate, she thought. (2.70)
    This suggests that maybe Meg's self-hatred is due in part to her blindness, her feeling that nobody loves her, everybody hates her, she might as well eat worms.
    Calvin put a strong hand to Meg's elbow, and Fort pressed against her leg. Happiness at their concern was so strong in her that her panic fled, and she followed Charles Wallace into the dark recesses of the house without fear. (2.133)
    As Patrick Swayze told us, love and fear are opposites. So long as Meg feels loved, she's not afraid, even though the danger is just the same.
    Meg said in a startled way, "I guess I never thought of that. I guess I just took it for granted." (3.13-14)
    And this is what privilege looks like: having something good and never even thinking that other people don't have the same thing. Calvin makes Meg realize for the first time that family love isn't a sure thing in life, but something precious that she should be grateful for.
    "No. At first we got lots of letters. Mother and Father always wrote each other every day. I think Mother still writes him every night. Every once in a while the postmistress makes some kind of a crack about all her letters."

    "I suppose they think she's pursuing him or something," Calvin said, rather bitterly.

    "They can't understand plain, ordinary love when they see it. Well, go on. What happened next?" (3.152-154)
    For all Meg's worrying that everyone else is normal, and she (and her family) are not, here Calvin reverses the perspective: it's the townspeople who can't recognize the value of the "plain" and "ordinary."
    "But I must know what happens to the children," the Medium said. "It's my worst trouble, getting fond. If I didn't get fond I could be happy all the time." (6.64)
    Love is the enemy of happiness? Perhaps, but what kind of happiness is there without caring about anyone or anything? The happy medium that Mrs. Murry and the twins advise Meg to strive for is looking less and less desirable...
    The gentle words, the feeling that this beast would be able to love her no matter what she said or did, lapped Meg in warmth and peace. She felt a delicate touch of tentacle to her cheek, as tender as her mother's kiss. (11.62)
    It seems what Meg wants is unconditional love, even though she's not so good at giving it herself: she acts like she hates her father when he doesn't live up to her standards. Perhaps this example from Aunt Beast helps set Meg back on the right track.
    Meg's tears stopped as abruptly as they had started. "But I do understand." She felt tired and unexpectedly peaceful. Now the coldness that, under Aunt Beast's ministrations, had left her body had also left her mind. She looked toward her father and her confused anger was gone and she felt only love and pride. She smiled at him, asking forgiveness, and then pressed up against Aunt Beast. This time Aunt Beast's arm went around her. (12.32)
    If the Black Thing drains all the love out of Meg, does that mean that love is linked to that other thing the Black Thing seeks to destroy, independent identity? Is it possible to love someone in a world where everyone is exactly the same?
    "Mrs. Whatsit hates you," Charles Wallace said.

    And that was where IT made ITs fatal mistake, for as Meg said, automatically, "Mrs. Whatsit loves me; that's what she told me, that she loves me," suddenly she knew.

    She knew!


    That was what she had that IT did not have.

    She had Mrs. Whatsit's love, and her father's, and her mother's, and the real Charles Wallace's love, and the twins', and Aunt Beast's.

    And she had her love for them.

    But how could she use it? What was she meant to do?

    If she could give love to IT perhaps it would shrivel up and die, for she was sure that IT could not withstand love. But she, in all her weakness and foolishness and baseness and nothingness, was incapable of loving IT. Perhaps it was not too much to ask of her, but she could not do it.

    But she could love Charles Wallace. (12.135-144)
    And so Charles Wallace is saved through the power of love. (Cue soaring violins.) But why does this work? Why is not doing anything, just standing still and loving Charles Wallace, enough to extract him from IT's clutches?
    Meg knew all at once that Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which must be near, because all through her she felt a flooding of joy and of love that was even greater and deeper than the joy and love which were already there.

    She stopped laughing and listened, and Charles listened, too. "Hush."

    Then there was a whirring, and Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which were standing in front of them, and the joy and love were so tangible that Meg felt that if she only knew where to reach she could touch it with her bare hands. (12.170-172)
    The image of love as an object is kind of strange. Why externalize feeling in this way, as a thing that might be touched, rather than as something that you feel inside you?
    A Wrinkle in Time Fear Quotes
    How we cite the quotes:
    Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
    "Meg, don't get mad, but do you think maybe they don't know?"

    A slow tear trickled down Meg's cheek. "That's what I'm afraid of." (3.165-166)
    It sounds like Meg could stand not knowing what's going on with her dad, so long as she's sure someone does know. This is similar to how when Meg does finally meet up with her father, she's fine not saving the world herself, so long as she believes he's going to do it. What's terrifying is knowing that even the people who are supposedly in charge don't have a clue.
    Meg looked. The dark shadow was still there. It had not lessened or dispersed with the coming of night. And where the shadow was the stars were not visible.

    What could there be about a shadow that was so terrible that she knew that there had never been before or ever would be again, anything that would chill her with a fear that was beyond shuddering, beyond crying or screaming, beyond the possibility of comfort? (4.130-131)
    The impact of the Black Thing seems to be beyond logic – Meg doesn't yet have any reason to fear it, but she sill does.
    [Mrs. Whatsit] " That's another reason we wanted to prepare you on Uriel. We thought it would be too frightening for you to see it first of all about your own, beloved world." (5.107)
    Pure evil is one thing, but pure evil visiting you at home is even worse. It's like the difference between a scary movie about kids going to visit a haunted house vs. one about kids whose own house turns out to be haunted – the latter is more terrifying, because it feels like nowhere, not even home, is safe.
    "It's all right," Meg assured the Medium earnestly. "Truly it is, Mrs. Medium, and we thank you very much."

    "Are you sure?" the Medium asked, brightening.

    "Of course! It really helped ever so much because it made me mad, and when I'm mad I don't have room to be scared." (6.54-56)
    What is it about anger that drives away fear? Is it just that, as Meg suggests, she only has room for one strong emotion at the time? Or is there something in the feeling of outrage that counteracts fright?
    Charles Wallace looked steadily at Mrs. Whatsit. "Are you afraid for us?"

    "A little."

    "But if you weren't afraid to do what you did when you were a star, why should you be afraid for us now?"

    "But I was afraid," Mrs. Whatsit said gently. (6.79-82)
    This conversation reveals a blind spot in Charles Wallace – he seems to think that if you do something brave, it means that you're not scared, whereas Mrs. Whatsit explains that bravery and fear can go hand-in-hand. This suggests a more complicated view of heroism: perhaps the real hero is not the person (or star) who does something without fear, but the one who is scared but does it anyway.
    Then the voice was directed to Meg. "To you I leave my glasses, little blind-as-a-bat - But do not use them except as a last resort. Save them for the final moment of peril." As she spoke there was another shimmer of spectacles, and then it was gone, and the voice faded out with it. The spectacles were in Meg's hand. She put them carefully into the breast pocket of her blazer, and the knowledge that they were there somehow made her a little less afraid. (6.89)
    While the promised usefulness of the glasses might give Meg a sense of security, it may also be that just having a little piece of Mrs. Who makes her feel better, regardless of the power it might have against her enemies. Previously, Meg has felt better in scary situations when she had a sense that the people around her cared about her.
    At the tone of Mrs. Whatsit's voice, both warning and frightening, Meg shivered again. And Charles Wallace butted up against Mrs. Whatsit in the way he often did with his mother, whispering, "Now I think I know what you meant about being afraid."

    "Only a fool is not afraid," Mrs. Whatsit told him. "Now go." And where she had been there was only sky and grasses and a small rock. (6.96-97)
    According to Mrs. Whatsit, fear is a sign of intelligence. This is in part due to having enough of a clue to recognize the danger in the situation, but it might be something more – how might being scared lead to a person making smarter choices?
    "No," Charles Wallace said. "I have to go on. We have to make decisions, and we can't make them if they're based on fear." (7.48)
    This seems almost the reverse of the previous quote. While Mrs. Whatsit seems to be saying to listen to their fears, or at least be aware of them, Charles Wallace wants to set them aside altogether. Which is right? Is either?
    Meg was so sick and dizzy from the impact that she could not answer. For a moment she was afraid that she would throw up or faint. Charles Wallace laughed again, the laugh that was not his own, and it was this that saved her, for once more anger overcame her pain and fear. Charles Wallace, her own real, dear Charles Wallace, never laughed at her when she hurt herself. Instead, his arms would go quickly around her neck and he would press his soft cheek against hers in loving comfort. But the demon Charles Wallace snickered. She turned away from him and looked again at the man in the column. (9.3)
    Perhaps anger counters fear because it directs emotions outward? Instead of being scared about what's going to happen to you, you instead think about what you would like to do to the person you are mad at...
    "Put your arms around my neck, Meg," Mr. Murry said. "Hold on to me tightly. Close your eyes and don't be afraid." He picked her up and she wrapped her long legs around his waist and clung to his neck. With Mrs. Who's spectacles on she had felt only a faint darkness and coldness as she moved through the column. Without the glasses she felt the same awful clamminess she had felt when they tessered through the outer darkness of Camazotz. Whatever the Black Thing was to which Camazotz had submitted, it was within as well as without the planet. For a moment it seemed that the chill darkness would tear her from her father's arms. She tried to scream, but within that icy horror no sound was possible. Her father's arms tightened about her, and she clung to his neck in a strangle hold, but she was no longer lost in panic. She knew that if her father could not get her through the wall he would stay with her rather than leave her; she knew that she was safe as long as she was in his arms. (9.62)
    Meg seems very childlike at this moment, in her absolute trust that her father is going to make everything all right, and that there's nothing to be scared of so long as he is there. She also seems not to be thinking very clearly – she may be "safe" trapped in the column with her father, but that's hardly a good place to be.
    She felt that she was beyond fear now. Charles Wallace was no longer Charles Wallace. Her father had been found but he had not made everything all right. Instead everything was worse than ever, and her adored father was bearded and thin and white and not omnipotent after all. No matter what happened next, things could be no more terrible or frightening than they already were.

    Oh, couldn't they?

    As she continued to step slowly forward, at last she realized what the Thing on the dais was.

    IT was a brain.

    A disembodied brain. An oversized brain, just enough larger than normal to be completely revolting and terrifying. A living brain. A brain that pulsed and quivered, that seized and commanded. No wonder the brain was called IT. IT was the most horrible, the most repellent thing she had ever seen, far more nauseating than anything she had ever imagined with her conscious mind, or that had ever tormented her in her most terrible nightmares.

    But as she had felt she was beyond fear, so now she was beyond screaming. (9.120-125)
    There seems to be a limit on fear – Meg has already reached her maximum quota for the time being, so each new horror can't add anything to her emotional level. How might Meg have reacted differently if she had gone straight from her home to IT, without passing Go or collecting Mrs. Who's glasses? How might we as readers have reacted differently if the story jumped straight from one world to the other without any stops in between?

    A Wrinkle in Time Time Quotes
    How we cite the quotes:
    Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
    "Maybe if Father were here he could help you, but I don't think I can do anything till you've managed to plow through some more time. Then things will be easier for you. But that isn't much help right now, is it?" (1.67)
    Mrs. Murry's reassurance to her daughter is basically saying that being a teenager sucks, and all you can do is wait to grow out of it. "Plow" is an interesting verb choice – it's like Meg is planting the seeds that she won't be able to harvest until later in life.
    "Your father [needs our help], of course. Now go home, loves. The time is not yet ripe. Don't worry, we won't go without you." (2.147)
    This passage has another agricultural metaphor for time with "ripe," suggesting a natural development that can't be hurried. One wonders how Mrs. Whatsit is measuring ripeness – if they can travel in time, isn't one moment as good as any other? Or perhaps the Earthlings have to reach a particular moment before the Mrs. Ws can sweep them off.
    "Well, then, someone just tell me how we got here!" Calvin's voice was still angry and his freckles seemed to stand out on his face. "Even traveling at the speed of light it would take us years and years to get here."

    "Oh, we don't travel at the speed of anything," Mrs Whatsit explained earnestly. "We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle." (4.42-43)
    Speed is, for example, miles per hour – so take the hours out of the equation and you're dividing by zero, which doesn't work...unless you're a star, apparently, and then time bends for you.
    "And the fourth?"

    "Well, I guess if you want to put it into mathematical terms you'd square the square. But you can't take a pencil and draw it the way you can the first three. I know it's got something to do with Einstein and time. I guess maybe you could call the fourth dimension Time." (5.32-33)
    Calling time the Fourth Dimension connects it to space – and makes our brains hurt.
    "Just how old are you?" Calvin asked her.

    "Just a moment," Mrs. Whatsit murmured, and appeared to calculate rapidly upon her fingers. She nodded triumphantly. "Exactly 2,379,152,497 years, 8 months, and 3 days. That is according to your calendar, of course, which even you know isn't very accurate." (5.75-76)
    Mrs. Whatsit reminds us that our understanding of time depends on arbitrary measures, and is very local: what significance would a time system based on the Earth's revolving around the sun have for anyone outside this solar system?
    [Mr. Murry] "Time is different on Camazotz, anyhow. Our time, inadequate though it is, at least is straightforward. It may not be even fully one-dimensional, because it can't move back and forth on its line, only ahead; but at least it's consistent in its direction. Time on Camazotz seems to be inverted, turned in on itself. So I have no idea whether I was imprisoned is that column for centuries or only for minutes." (10.23)
    Mr. Murry suggests that time is an experience, but a shared one – he may not be able to trust his own experience, but he still feels like there's a clock somewhere he should be able to check his experience against. But if Camazotz is an entirely different planet, do "centuries" and "minutes" have any meaning?
    Her father: "Yes. It's a frightening as well as an exciting thing to discover that matter and energy are the same thing, that size is an illusion, and that time is a material substance. We can know this, but it's far more than we can understand with our puny little brains. I think you will be able to comprehend far more than I. And Charles Wallace even more than you." (10.36)
    Charles Wallace may understand this, but we don't. In any case, if such standard building blocks of making sense of the world like "size" are illusions, does that mean our experience of reality is no better than Meg's experience of Camazotz's finest turkey dinner?
    Something completely and indescribably and incredibly delicious was put to Meg's lips, and she swallowed gratefully. With each swallow she felt strength returning to her body, and she realized that she had had nothing to eat since the horrible fake turkey dinner on Camazotz which she had barely tasted. How long ago was her mother's stew? Time no longer had any meaning. (11.64)
    While we may have an ongoing sense of time passing, our internal clocks are so unreliable (who hasn't experienced a class period that went on forever, or a date that was over far too soon?) that without something external to time ourselves against, we're adrift in the sea of time. This really underscores how dependent we are on external cues like the sun or an alarm clock to gauge the passage of time.
    "We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal." (11.85)
    Aunt Beast again links time with the material world, but also suggests that there is something beyond – but what would that be?

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