Title: A Wrinkle in Time.
Author: Madeleine L'Engle.
Genre: Fiction, children's lit, fantasy, science fiction, YA.
Publication Date: 1962.
Summary: Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and a boy from school named Calvin O'Keefe are in for an adventure of their life when they come across a strange old woman talking about a "tesseract." When they learn that Mr. Murry, a prominent scientist who has been missing for a long time, has been captured by the Dark Thing that threatens all worlds with darkness, they time-travel to Camazotz. There, they must face the leader IT in the ultimate battle between good and evil―a journey that threatens their lives and the universe.
My rating: 7/10.
♥ "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."
♥ "Oh, dearie me," Mrs. Whatsit said, lying on her back in the overturned chair, her feet in the air, one in a red and white striped sock, the other still booted.
Mrs. Murry got to her feet. "Are you all right, Mrs. Whatsit?"
"If you have some liniment I'll put it on my dignity," Mrs. Whatsit said, still supine. "I think it's sprained. A little oil of cloves mixed well with garlic is rather good." And she took a large bite of sandwich.
♥ "I hoped it was a dream," Meg said.
Her mother carefully turned over four slices of French toast, then said in a steady voice, "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."
♥ "Meg, don't you think you'd make a better adjustment to life if you faced facts?"
"I do face facts," Meg said. "They're lots easier to face than people, I can tell you."
♥ "Do you know how lucky you are?"
She smiled rather wryly. "Not most of the time."
"A mother like that! A house like this! Gee, your mother's gorgeous! You should see my mother. She had all her upper teeth out and Pop got her a plate but she won't wear it, and most days she doesn't even comb her hair. Not that it makes much difference when she does." He clenched his fists. "But I love her. That's the funny part of it. I love them all, and they don't give a hoot about me. Maybe that's why I call when I'm not going to be home. Because I care. Nobody else does. You don't know how lucky you are to be loved."
♥ "That I don't know. But it seems the only explanation."
"Do you think things always have an explanation?"
"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."
"I like to understand things," Meg said.
"We all do. But it isn't always possible."
♥ "Mother and Father always wrote each other every day. I think Mother still writes him every night. Every once in a while the postmistress make some kind of a crack about all the 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."
♥ She blinked her eyes rapidly, but though she herself was somehow back, nothing else was. It was not as simple as darkness, or absence of light. Darkness has a tangible quality; it can be moved through and felt; in darkness you can bark your shins; the world oooof things still exists around you. She was lost in a horrifying void.
It was the same way with the silence. This was more than silence. A deaf person can feel vibrations. Here there was nothing to feel.
♥ "Anndd wee mussttn'tt looose ourr sensses of hummoorr," Mrs. Which said. "Thee oonnlly wway ttoo ccoope withh ssometthingg ddeadly sseriouss iss ttoo ttry ttoo trreatt itt a lligghtly."
♥ The Medium lost the delighted smile she had worn till then. "Oh, why must you make me look at unpleasant things when there are so many delightful ones to see?"
Again Mrs. Which's voiceo reverberated through the cave. "Therre willl nno llonggerr bee sso manyy pplleasanntt thinggss too llookk att iff rressponssible ppoplle ddo nnott ddoo ssomethingg abboutt thee unnppleassanntt oness."
♥ "But what's going to happen?" Meg's voice trembled. "Oh, please, Mrs. Which, tell us what's going to happen!"
"Wee wwill occonnttinnue tto ffightt!"
Something in Mrs. Which's voice made all three of the children stand straighter, throwing back their shoulders with determination, looking at the glimmer that was Mrs. Which with pride and confidence.
"And we're not alone, you know, children," came Mrs. Whatsit, the comforter. "All through the universe it's being fought, all through the cosmos, and my, but it's a grand and exciting battle. I know it's hard for you to understand about size, how there's very little difference in the size of the tiniest microbe and the greatest galaxy. You think about that, and maybe it won't seem strange to you that some of our very best fighters have come right from your own planet, and it's a little planet, dears, out on the edge of a little galaxy. You can be proud that it's done so well."
"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."
♥ "Let's go back." Calvin started to pull away.
"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."
♥ She wanted to reach out and grab Calvin's hand, but it seemed that ever since they had begun their journeyings she had been looking for a hand to hold, so she stuffed her fists into her pockets and walked along behind the two boys. —I've got to be brave, she said to herself. —I will be.
♥ "On Camazotz we are all happy because we are all alike. Differences create problems. You know that, don't you, dear sister?"
"No," Meg said.
"Oh, yes, you do. You've seen at home how true it is. You know that's the reason you're not happy at school. Because you're different."
"I'm different, and I'm happy," Calvin said.
"But you pretend that you aren't different."
"I'm different, and I like being different." Calvin's voice was unnaturally loud.
"Maybe I don't like being different," Meg said, "but I don't want to be like everybody else, either."
♥ "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 things at all!"
♥ "Why is it so dark in here?" Meg asked. She tried to look around, but all she could see was shadows. Nevertheless there was a sense of openness, a feel of a gentle breeze moving lightly about, that kept the darkness from being oppressive.
Perplexity came to her from the beast. "What is this dark? What is this light? We do not understand. Your father and the boy, Calvin, have asked this, too. They say that it is night now on our planet, and that they cannot see. They have told us that our atmosphere is what they call opaque, so that the stars are not visible, and then they were surprised that we know stars, that we know their music and the movements of their dance far better than beings like you who spend hours studying them through what you call telescopes. We do not understand what this means, to see."
"Well, it's what things look like," Meg said helplessly.
"We do not know what things look like, as you say," the beast said. "We know what things are like. It must be a very limiting thing, this seeing."
"Oh, no!" Meg cried. "It's—it's the most wonderful thing in the world!"
"What a very strange world yours must be!" the beast said, "that such a peculiar-seeming thing should be of such importance."
♥ "Please sing to me, Aunt Beast."
If it was impossible to describe sight to Aunt Beast, it would be even more impossible to describe the singing of Aunt Beast to a human being. It was a music even more glorious than the music of the singing creatures on Uriel. It was a music more tangible than form or sight. It had essence and structure. It supported Meg more firmly than the arms of Aunt Beast. It seemed to travel with her, to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she, too, felt that the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only this melody was real.
♥ Night had gone and a dull gray light filled the room. 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.
♥ "Are you fighting the Black Thing?" Meg asked.
"Oh, yes," Aunt Beast replied. "In doing that we can never relax. We are the called according to His purpose, and whom He calls, them He also justifies. Of course we have help, and without help it would be much more difficult."
"Who helps you?" Meg asked.
"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 helps 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."
♥ "All right, I'll go!" Meg sobbed. "I know you want me to go!"
"We want nothing from you that you do without grace," Mrs. Whatsit said, "or that you do without understanding."
♥ "Oh, I know. In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet. ... It is a very strict form of poetry, is it not?"
"There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That's a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?"
"Yes." Calvin nodded.
"And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?"
"But within this strict form the poet has complete freedom to say whatever he wants, doesn't he?"
"Yes." Calvin nodded again.
"So," Mrs. Whatsit said.
"Oh, do not be stupid, boy!" Mrs. Whatsit scolded. "You know perfectly well what I am driving at!"
"You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom without 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."
♥ At last she turned to her father. "I'm—I'm sorry, Father."
He took both her hands in his, bent down to her with his short-sighted eyes. "Sorry for what, Megatron?"
Tears almost came to her eyes at the gentle use of the old nickname. "I wanted you to do it all for me. I wanted everything to be all easy and simple. . . . So I tried to pretend that it was all your fault . . . because I was scared, and I didn't want to have to do anything myself—"
"But I wanted to do it for you," Mr. Murry said. "That's what every parent wants." He looked into her dark, frightened eyes. "I won't let you go, Meg. I am going."
"No." Mrs. Whatsit's voice was sterner than Meg had ever heard it. "You are going to allow Meg the privilege of accepting this danger. You are a wise man, Mr. Murry. You are going to let her go."