I admit that I’ve struggled with A Wrinkle in Time. I have continued reading it to my boys because my eleven year old loves it so much.
Perhaps I feel that is harder to emotionally connect with sci fi. So much mental effort is required to understand these newly created worlds and trying to understand how the technology works in them can be confusing.
There also seems to be a certain unpredictability and so many characters just seem so strange. What are they even doing here, I ask.
But at the end of A Wrinkle in Time, I was pretty moved. So much of the book deals with Meg and Charles trying to rescue their father from another planet. However, in saving their father, Charles Wallace becomes trapped and then left on the same planet, overpowered by a terrible darkness, also known as IT. The darkness also leaves its imprint on Meg, and she is darker, angrier, more resentful.
She is angry, blaming her father, who she just barely rescued. She becomes an unbearable scold, a relentless nag, and even we, the readers, who have been cheering for Meg all along, can hardly stand her.
How can she be so cruel to her father? How can she tell him that he is useless? How can she tell him that he failed so completely?
The masterfully L’Engle guides us right where she wants us. Davy asks me, “If she wants her little brother saved so badly, why can’t she just do it herself?”
Ahh. And wouldn’t you know it? Meg is the only that can.
Charles Wallace hardly knows his father since he disappeared shortly after Charles was born. But Meg and her little brother, Charles Wallace, have always had a special connection. Charles can almost read Meg’s mind as is shown in the first scene of the book when Meg comes to the kitchen during a frightening rainstorm only to find Charles Wallace heating up some milk for her. He knows what she needs before she does. As Meg finally realizes, “Even though I don’t understand him, he understands me.” She knows that she is the only one that can reach him that pull him out of the dark hypnotic grasp of IT.
She doesn’t know how she will do it. She is scared. Mrs. Whatsit, her mentor, tells her that she has something that IT does not have and that alone will rescue Charles.
We tesseract back with her to the dark planet. She sees her helpless brother his mind is completely controlled by IT. He tells her lies. She begins to doubt herself, but then she fights back with anger and hatred until she realizes that hatred isn’t going to help her win over Charles Wallace.
What does she have that IT does not have? She has love.
She tells Charles over and over again that she loves him. He wakes up and run to Meg, and she holds him in her arms. And then I was crying.
I realized that despite my discomfort with sci fi, I loved Meg and I loved Charles Wallace and I even loved Aunt Beastie, tentacles and all.
Do you enjoy science fiction? What’s your favorite book?