Study Guide

A Wind in the Door

by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wind in the Door Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of American Literature)

A Wind in the Door takes the children of the Time Quartet even further into the science-fiction and fantasy world of the tesseract as they eventually travel time and space to enter the mitochondria of Charles Wallace’s cells, as tiny as the farandola that they are accompanying.

The novel opens with the discovery that Charles Wallace is ill and weakening. This illness, readers discover later in the novel, is caused by evil forces of the Echthroi, who are eliminating stars in the universe and creating a rip in the galaxy. The forces of the Echthroi are also affecting Charles Wallace’s mitochondria by encouraging his fanadolae not to follow their course and take root and grow strong. Therefore, he is weakening and dying from lack of oxygen.

He leads Meg to make the discovery of the cherubim, Progo, a supernatural creature with many wings and many eyes who looks nothing like the human idea of a cherubim. He will be part of her class, and the teacher Blajeny will instruct them in their three tests. Calvin is also part of this class and will be alongside Meg again to communicate his love and confidence to empower her. With the cherubim, she must pass the first test: identify the real principal Mr. Jenkins, whom she dislikes, out of three other imposters. She struggles and eventually is able to choose the real Mr. Jenkins by thinking of something lovable about him and using that against the others.

The reoccurrence of the...

(The entire section is 543 words.)

A Wind in the Door Bibliography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Bloom, Harold, ed. Women Writers of Children’s Literature. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1998.

Chase, Carole F. Suncatcher: A Study of Madeleine L’Engle and Her Writing. Philadelphia: Innisfree Press, 1998.

Hein, Rolland. Christian Mythmakers: C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, J. R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, G. K. Chesterton, Charles Williams, Dante Alighieri, John Bunyan, Walter Wangerin, Robert Siegel, and Hannah Hurnard. Chicago: Cornerstone Press, 2002.

Hettinga, Donald R. Presenting Madeleine L’Engle. New York: Twayne, 1993.

Shaw, Luci, ed. The Swiftly Tilting Worlds of Madeleine L’Engle. Wheaton, Ill.: Harold Shaw, 1998.