Summary (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
A Wrinkle in Time was L’Engle’s third novel to be published. The novel opens with Meg Murray, a girl just entering high school, the middle child and only daughter, going downstairs in a storm to find her little brother, Charles Wallace, waiting for her. The reference is made to the ability of Charles Wallace to know her thoughts, which readers later discover is the ability to kythe, or communicate thought from mind to mind without speaking. This is the first indication of the special abilities Charles Wallace possesses and develops throughout the trilogy.
During this storm, the children’s first guide appears at the Murrays’ door dressed as an old homeless woman might and calling herself Mrs. Whatsit. She informs the family that the tesseract is real. The tesseract is the physics formula explaining time travel which Mr. Murray was exploring at the time of his disappearance.
When Meg and Charles Wallace later go to visit Mrs. Whatsit, they encounter Calvin, a fellow student with Meg, who tells them he also followed a compulsion that led him to come to Mrs. Whatsit’s house at the same time. They enter the house, where they meet for the first time their other guide, Mrs. Who. She tells the kids to leave and that she and her cohorts will fetch them when the time comes.
Meg spends the next few chapters attempting to come to grips with herself and her unhappy situation at school, in which her teachers think she is not...
(The entire section is 1057 words.)
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Summary (Censorship (Ready Reference series))
Although Madeleine L’Engle is a devout Christian she antagonized evangelical Christians with her children’s novel A Wrinkle in Time. Her detractors challenged the inclusion of her book in public schools primarily because its women characters—Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which—use magical powers to take twelve-year-old Meg and her brother Charles on a space trip through the fifth dimension. Objecting parents and pastors have claimed that characters are really witches practicing black magic under the guise of “New Age” religion, based on Hindu and Buddhist cultures. They have objected to children being indoctrinated with Eastern religions and mystical practices and to L’Engle’s use of crystal balls, psychic healing, astral travel, and telepathy. Citizens for Excellence in Education in Waterloo, Iowa, for example, accused L’Engle of fostering occult practices, employing satanic suggestions, sadism, and—worst of all—by associating Jesus Christ with other great personages, implying that Christ was not divine. Most efforts to ban A Wrinkle in Time failed, however. L’Engle received strong support from her readers for her Newbery Award-winning novel and its themes of the power of love, respect for others, and the need for individuality.
(The entire section is 196 words.)
A Wrinkle in Time is the story of a sister and brother, Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, who rescue their father from captivity on the planet of Camazotz—and in the process save the universe from the clutches of an evil power called IT. They are aided in their struggles by Calvin O'Keefe, a friend who travels with them across the universe.
The novel introduces an entertaining cast of characters, many of whom exist only in the realm of the imagination. Odd as some of these characters are— the three strange old ladies, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which, who guide the children through the galaxies; the tentacled monster, Aunt Beast; and IT, a disembodied human brain—both the characters and the plot seem believable.
A Wrinkle in Time is much more than an intergalactic adventure story. L'Engle examines such issues as the nature of good and evil, the meaning of love, and the importance of self-sacrifice. She wishes to show readers what constitutes noble and admirable human behavior, yet her story is never a sermon. It is, instead, a chance for the reader to watch Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace face challenges, overcome them, and grow as a result of their tests.
(The entire section is 204 words.)
Chapter 1 Summary
A Wrinkle in Time begins with an introduction to Margaret “Meg” Murry, an adolescent girl whose mood matches the “dark and stormy” weather that opens the novel. Meg, sitting in her attic bedroom, frets about the storm and her troubles at school—both beyond her control.
Meg’s life at school is dismal. Her teachers do not understand her and her apparent lack of intellect; they suggest that she be held back and not promoted at the end of the school year. Her relationships with other students are no better. When a boy insults her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, Meg instigates a fight. The bruised eye she receives is a small hurt compared to the inner pain she is experiencing. Meg’s father has been absent from the family for a long period of time. The gossip regarding his whereabouts is painful for Meg to hear. She despairs that, unlike her mother, she cannot hide her worry.
Unable to sleep with the storm howling around her attic bedroom, Meg decides to go downstairs to the kitchen and make a cup of hot chocolate. As she approaches the kitchen, she hears the family dog, Fortinbras, barking. Everyone is asleep and Meg is concerned that there might be an intruder in the area. A theft has already occurred at a neighbor’s house.
When Meg reaches the kitchen, she is startled to find Charles Wallace sitting at the table and eating a snack. She is further surprised that he already has milk warming for her hot chocolate. Meg reflects on this and on her siblings in general. Her twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys, are considered to be the “normal” children in the family, but she (the oldest) and Charles Wallace (the youngest) are thought to be odd. Meg’s father, however, has assured her that both she and Charles Wallace are fine and are progressing at their own rates. Meg sees this in Charles Wallace’s development. He did not speak until he was four years old but when he finally did it was in whole sentences. Meg, however, does not see herself in the same light; she believes that she is simply “dumb.”
When Meg notices that there is enough milk in the pan for more than one cup of cocoa, Charles Wallace, showing his precociousness, tells her that he thought their mother might like some as well; he says this just as Mrs. Murry is walking into the kitchen. Charles Wallace volunteers to prepare sandwiches for all of them, and while the twins remain asleep, Mrs. Murry, Meg, and...
(The entire section is 662 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
After having spent much of the previous night in the kitchen rather than sleeping in her bed, Meg wakes up grouchy. When she remembers the storm and having met Mrs. Whatsit, she hopes it was all a dream that is now over. Unfortunately, when Meg finds her mother in the kitchen, Mrs. Murry confirms that the strange events of last night did indeed occur. This does not improve Meg’s mood.
Meg recalls her mother’s strange reaction when Mrs. Whatsit mentioned something called a tesseract, and she asks her mother to explain. Mrs. Murry suggests that breakfast is not a good time to go into the matter. She tells Meg she will talk with her later.
At school, Meg’s thoughts lag well behind what is happening in the classroom. She cannot answer a question she had studied the night before while doing homework. When her teacher criticizes Meg for her lack of ability, Meg makes a smug remark. This earns Meg a trip to the principal’s office. Mr. Jenkins tells Meg that her teacher told him she has been very rude in class. Jenkins wants to know why Meg is acting this way. He wonders if something is going on at home that might be upsetting Meg. Meg can see through the principal’s intentions. She can tell that all he wants is a bit of gossip. When Meg refuses to give him intimate information about her family, the principal tells Meg that it is time to face facts; he implies it is time for Meg to realize her father is never coming home. Everyone knows how long Meg’s father has been away. Meg guesses that the woman at the post office has probably even told people how long it has been since Meg’s father sent them a letter, which is now over a year. At the end of their meeting, Mr. Jenkins suggests that Meg stop being so belligerent and uncooperative at school, and maybe that would help in her studies, too.
When Meg returns home from school, her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, is waiting for her. He has even packed her a bagful of food. He wants to take her to the haunted house in the woods so Meg can meet Mrs. Who. Mrs. Who lives with Mrs. Whatsit, he explains.
Just as they arrive at the haunted house, Meg and Charles Wallace hear their dog bark, and they stop short. When they peer through the woods, they see that their dog, Fortinbras, is standing in front of a tall, thin boy. Meg recognizes the youth as Calvin O’Keefe, a boy a couple of grades above her at school. Charles Wallace, who is only five years...
(The entire section is 684 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
While Calvin and Meg walk toward the Murry home, Meg cannot understand why she feels so happy; she has certainly not had a great day. Then Calvin tells Meg that although he had known of her in school, it just was not meant for them to meet until now. He says he has a feeling they are going to become good friends.
Once they reach the house and Calvin is invited to stay for dinner, Calvin calls his mother to let her know he will not be home until late. He leaves a message with one of his siblings to not lock him out of the house, which apparently has happened before. Calvin tells Meg he does not know why he even bothers to check in; his mother never notices when he is gone. Calvin tells Meg she is lucky to have such a loving family.
Later, Meg helps Calvin with his math homework. Whereas Calvin is great with any studies that involve language, he does not generally do well in math. That is Meg’s strong point. Calvin is amazed at how intelligent Meg is. Her reputation at school would make him believe she was incapable of complex thoughts.
After dinner and homework are finished, Calvin and Meg go for a walk. As they talk, Meg realizes that Calvin is quite perceptive. He asks if Meg’s mother is upset. Meg says she is concerned that her mother is troubled by her father’s absence. Calvin asks Meg to tell him more about her father. Meg tells him her father is a physicist, but Calvin already knew that. He tells her all the rumors he has heard, including that Meg’s father left her mother for another woman. This angers Meg and she is about to leave, but Calvin holds her back. He tells her he does not believe the rumors; he was merely telling her what he had heard. He says people tell stories like that because they are jealous. Calvin says he has also learned that Meg’s father has several advanced degrees and has worked at the Institute for Higher Learning in Princeton as well as for the government. That is all Calvin knows. So Meg fills him in on other details.
Meg tells Calvin that her father is involved in a secret government project. She knows nothing more because her father could not tell her. He and her mother used to send letters to one another every day, but then the letters from her father stopped about a year ago. When her mother asked the government agency if they knew where her husband was, the officials would tell her nothing.
At this point in their conversation, Meg and Calvin...
(The entire section is 513 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
Without warning, a dark shadow absorbs Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin. They had been standing on the ground and looking at the moonlight and then the next moment it was as if there was nothing but black. Meg even wonders if the light of the moon had been turned off. She senses that Calvin and Charles Wallace are also disappearing. She calls out to them and reaches for them, but she realizes she is all alone. Then even more astonishingly, Meg cannot even feel her own body. She wonders where it has gone.
Slowly, she begins to feel her body materialize. Her heart is beating. Her legs and arms are tingling. She wonders if she is dreaming, so she tries to wake herself up. Finally, she hears Charles Wallace’s voice. He is admonishing someone, telling them they could have at least provided a warning. Although Meg can hear Charles Wallace, she cannot quite manage to be with him. It is as if she is underwater and her brother is not. When she hears Calvin’s voice, she turns to see parts of him materialize—first a hand, then a foot. Charles Wallace calls to Meg. She tries to respond but cannot manage her voice. Then she feels something push her through what seems like a thin sheet of glass, and finally she is there.
She wonders where this place is. They had been in the midst of autumn, but now everything around them looks and smells of spring. Tender new grass is growing in a field of spring flowers. There are tall mountains in the distance; their tops are hidden by high clouds.
After staring at their new surroundings, Meg realizes that Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit are with them. Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit are giggling. This annoys Charles Wallace a little, and he reminds them that it would be nice if they explained what just happened to Meg and Calvin. Mrs. Which tells Charles Wallace that when facing something as deadly serious as they are about to do, it is good to keep one’s sense of humor. She admits that Meg might have some trouble doing this. She also says they will need patience because not everything can be explained all at once. She does make it clear, however, that Charles Wallace and Meg’s father’s life is at stake. Apparently, Charles Wallace knows more about what is going on than either Meg or Calvin does. Mrs. Which also informs them that they are on the planet Uriel, the third planet of the star Malak.
Calvin has trouble believing what Mrs. Which is telling them. He claims...
(The entire section is 611 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
Mrs. Which confirms that Meg and Charles’s father is indeed fighting the Dark Thing. He is presently behind the Dark Thing, Mrs. Which adds. When Meg begins to cry at this news, Mrs. Which tells her not to despair. There is always hope; this is why they are here.
Then Mrs. Which tells them it is time to travel on. Before they go, she attempts to explain how they tesser. Mrs. Which uses the example of a small insect trying to travel the length of a long piece of material. If the insect continued in a straight line, it would eventually get to the other side but doing so would take a lot of time. Then she says if the material were folded so that the far end was brought to the point where the insect was sitting, the journey would take only a second or two. That is what happens when they tesser: time and space are folded. This is done in the fifth dimension.
Charles Wallace tries to explain to Meg what the fifth dimension is. Meg says she knows the third dimension is the square of the second, and the fourth dimension, which has something to do with Einstein and time, is the square of the third. Charles fills in the rest of the information by stating that the fifth dimension is the square of the fourth, and it is called a tesseract. That is what their mother and father had been investigating.
Although this information is not entirely clear in Meg’s or Calvin’s minds, the children prepare for another journey. This time Meg is not as frightened. She is able to relax until she is about to rematerialize and finds that there is too much pressure being applied on her chest, and she can barely breathe. Then she hears someone say there has been a mistake. Mrs. Which has attempted to land on a two-dimensional planet. She had forgotten the children were three-dimensional beings and could not exist in a two-dimensional environment. Mrs. Which quickly changes their direction. When they fully rematerialize a few seconds later, they discover that they are somewhere in Orion’s belt. There is a friend of Mrs. Which’s who lives there, and Mrs. Which wants the children to meet her. Her friend’s name is Happy Medium.
Happy Medium lives in a dark, cold cave. As the children come upon her, she is standing in front of a large bonfire she has set to keep the children warm. She is also staring into a huge crystal ball. When Mrs. Which asks Happy Medium to show Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin what Earth looks like...
(The entire section is 596 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
Before Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin leave, Happy Medium has one more thing to show them. The children peer inside the crystal ball once more and see the Dark Thing. They want to turn away but Happy Medium insists that they look. As they watch, a bright light shines through the Dark Thing and slowly begins to disintegrate it. The light spreads and a patch of the Dark Thing completely disappears. Happy Medium is ecstatic. She tells them the light can win. But Mrs. Whatsit tempers the mood when she tells them that even though the star won, it lost its life in the battle. Then Mrs. Which says it is time to leave. The group needs to travel farther, this time to Camazotz; the children have no idea where that is.
Suddenly Meg feels herself being swept up into the nothingness. This time, she feels something different. She is surrounded by a clammy coldness unlike the other times she had been dematerialized. Meg wonders if this coldness is part of the Dark Thing, but she has no way of determining this as a fact. When the children are rematerialized, Charles Wallace asks Mrs. Which if they are indeed on Camazotz. Mrs. Which confirms this. She also warns them that the three women will not be able to help them in the remaining part of their journey to save Meg and Charles Wallace’s father. The women will be watching them, but they will not be able to interfere.
Meg wants to know if her father is on this planet. Mrs. Which says he is, but she cannot tell Meg where he is. The children will have to follow clues along the way, using their intuition and intelligence to decipher the information they receive. Mrs. Which says each child has a special gift, and then she identifies the gift of each. She tells Calvin he is good at communications. She tells Meg that her strength is actually her faults, and Meg is dumbfounded. She says Charles Wallace’s special gift is his youthful resilience. She then advises them to always stay together no matter what they do. Then the three women disappear.
Left on their own, the children follow the last bit of advice Mrs. Which offered, which was to head for the town. As they walk along the streets, Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace see children playing outside. But what they witness seems very strange. Each of the children is in perfect rhythm with all the other children. Those who are jumping rope touch the ground with their feet at the exact same time. Those who are tossing balls throw...
(The entire section is 507 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin go to the CENTRAL Central Intelligence Building, where they suspect they can find those who are controlling the people of Camazotz. Once inside the building, Charles Wallace asks so many questions of a man there that the man feels compelled to report Charles for not complying with the norms of a child his age. Charles Wallace thinks this over and decides this might be a good idea, because perhaps they will be taken to whomever is in charge. Charles Wallace acts very confidently as the three of them are led down a long hall—until they come face to face with the man with the red eyes. Charles Wallace tells Meg that he has no idea who this person is, but he feels the man trying to get at him mentally. When they are standing in front of him, the man with the red eyes tells the children he has been waiting for them.
Charles Wallace warns Meg and Calvin to close their eyes so the man with the red eyes cannot hypnotize them. The man can read Charles Wallace’s thoughts and flatters him by saying he is very clever. However, none of them should be afraid of him because he is there to help them. He wants to ease all their pain. He wants to take on the burden of all their responsibilities, their thoughts, and their decisions. The man then asks Charles Wallace to recite the multiplication tables, in order to numb his mind. Charles Wallace fights back by saying a children’s nursery rhyme. Then the boy rushes forward and attempts to punch the man. Charles Wallace says he wants to know what the man is; he wonders if he is a robot. Charles Wallace is sure that the voice he hears is not coming from the man sitting in front of him but from somewhere else.
The man with the red eyes tells Charles Wallace that he must look into his eyes if he wants to find out who he is. If Charles Wallace does this, he will hear the man’s thoughts. When Meg and Calvin protest, Charles Wallace tells them that he must do this. He has to find out who this man is. Charles Wallace then asks the man if he would be able to come out once he had entered the man’s mind. The man assures him that he can, though he says he is sure that once Charles is inside, he will not want to be himself again.
Charles Wallace feels assured and tells Meg and Calvin that he must do this. Someone has to find out who this man is. He tells Meg that he will not lose all of himself. He will make sure that he holds back just enough to...
(The entire section is 539 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
Meg screams at the man with the red eyes, demanding that he tell her where her brother is. The man tells Meg that she is acting hysterically. He points out that she can see Charles Wallace is right in front of her. He adds that she should take note that Charles Wallace is completely happy. Meg looks at her brother but will not accept the man’s conclusion. She knows that although the boy still looks like Charles Wallace, inside he is someone else.
Calvin tries to calm Meg down; he reminds her not to lose herself to her emotions. She must keep her mind clear so she will not become another victim of the man with the red eyes. Calvin tells her that Charles Wallace is in there somewhere. They need to hold onto him and not let him go. They will find him eventually, Calvin insists.
In the meantime, Charles Wallace tries to convince Meg and Calvin that they have been all wrong in the past. The man with the red eyes is a friend. Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who are their enemies. Meg and Calvin need to relax, Charles Wallace says, and accept the advice of the man with the red eyes. Neither Meg nor Calvin accepts this.
Calvin steps forward at this point and states that he knows someone is talking through Charles Wallace, and he wants to know who or what that someone is. The man with the red eyes tells Calvin it is not necessary for him to know more than that the person in charge is called the Prime Coordinator. When Calvin asks if the man with the red eyes will take them to Charles Wallace and Meg’s father, the man says Charles Wallace will take them there.
Then Meg remembers that Mrs. Whatsit told Calvin his gift was communication. She suggests that Calvin attempt to reach Charles Wallace by speaking to him both physically and mentally. Calvin tries to get inside Charles Wallace’s thoughts and is almost successful. But Charles Wallace does not fully escape the grasp that someone has on his mind.
As Meg and Calvin walk with Charles Wallace to find Mr. Murry, Charles Wallace continues to spew propaganda about life on Camazotz. He tells them that everyone there is happy because they are all alike—it is differences that cause problems. When Meg argues against this concept, Charles Wallace tells her if she continues to cause trouble, he might have to send her to IT. When Meg asks Charles Wallace what IT is, he only replies that IT is the boss.
The three of them finally arrive...
(The entire section is 471 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
Meg rushes toward the glass column in which her father is encased. She calls out to him, but she cannot reach him. Her father’s appearance has dramatically changed but she still recognizes him. Charles Wallace reacts to his father harshly. Meg admonishes her brother, reminding him that this man is his father even though he might not remember him. Calvin points out that he does not think Meg’s father can see her.
Charles Wallace remains unmoved by his reunion with his father. Instead, he uses the event to try to talk Meg into joining IT. Charles Wallace tells Meg that if she does as he has done and allow IT to control her mind, she will be helping their father. While Meg continues to plead with Charles Wallace to help their father, Calvin again tries to enter Charles Wallace’s mind so he might extract him from the power of IT. But again Calvin fails. Meg tells Calvin to take his attention off Charles Wallace and try to communicate with her father instead, but Calvin is too exhausted. He tells Meg that he feels Mrs. Who and her companions have asked too much of them. Then Meg remembers the glasses Mrs. Who gave to her. When she puts them on, she finds that she is able to work her way into the small, glass-enclosed room where her father is. She also is able to enter the glass column. Once inside, Meg calls out for him and then feels her father’s arms wrap around her. For the first time in a long time, Meg feels safe.
After they greet one another, Meg discovers that although she can see and feel her father, he cannot see her. So Meg takes off Mrs. Who’s glasses and gives them to her father. Mr. Murry’s vision is restored but now Meg finds herself in total darkness. She tells her father that he can escape the cell. At first Mr. Murry does not believe her. However, when he attempts it, he is able to push through the glass walls that had formerly imprisoned him. With the glasses on, he has the power to escape, but now Meg is caught behind the glass. So Mr. Murry returns to the other side and tells Meg to hold on tight to him. They push through the wall together.
Once everyone is free, Charles Wallace tells the group they must now go to see IT. Mr. Murry insists that Meg is not strong enough to confront IT, but Wallace Charles will not give in. When Mr. Murry talks to Charles as if he were a young boy, Meg reminds him that the person they are looking at is not Charles Wallace. IT has taken over Charles...
(The entire section is 629 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
Meg begins to return to consciousness. Her first sensation is of extreme cold. She feels so cold she wonders if she is frozen. She cannot move. She cannot speak. Although she can hear voices around her, the words sound as if they were made of ice.
She knows her father and Calvin are near her; she wonders where Charles Wallace is. Then her father notices a slight pulse returning in Meg. She wants to call out to tell him and Calvin that she is alive, but she is unable to. Meg’s confrontation with IT was too much for her. They tessered out of IT’s presence at the last possible moment—seconds away from Meg’s being completely mentally consumed by IT. The experience has left her dangerously depleted of energy.
Meg’s father and Calvin are looking over Meg. She hears her father explaining what had happened to him. In response to many of Calvin’s questions, Mr. Murry relates how he learned about tessering. Once discovered, the government agency for whom he was working wanted to test it. The first man in Mr. Murry’s group who attempted to tesser disappeared and never reappeared. Mr. Murry was the second one to try it. As he explains to Calvin, the process turned out to be more powerful than anyone had imagined. The scientists were toying with something they did not understand. They had figured out that matter and energy were the same thing and that time had a material basis. But their knowledge was like that of a young child in comparison to what they needed to learn—and it was far more dangerous than anyone had anticipated.
As Meg listens to her father, she feels more depressed. Previously, she had believed that once she found her father everything would be solved. But now that she has found her father, everything seems worse than before. Charles is lost. They are stranded on a strange planet. And she feels completely paralyzed.
She finally manages to speak. Mr. Murry and Calvin beg Meg to try to move, but she cannot even wiggle her toes. While Mr. Murry is rubbing Meg’s hands, trying to warm her, they notice three figures coming toward them. The closer the get, the stranger they look to Meg. They have four arms and their fingers look like tentacles. In place of ears and hair on their heads, they have more tentacles. One of the beasts bends over Meg and then raises her from the ground. When Mr. Murry objects, the beast tells him that they must take Meg away or she will die.
(The entire section is 465 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
As Meg relaxes and leans into the chest of the beast who is carrying her, one of Meg’s final thoughts before she falls asleep is about the sweet scent of the beast’s fur. Meg hopes her own scent is not offensive to this gentle creature. Later, when she awakens, Meg is relieved to discover that the pain she had been suffering is gone. She looks around and becomes aware of the darkness that surrounds her and that her clothes have been stripped from her body. Someone is rubbing an ointment onto her body. Meg stretches her muscles and is pleased that she can finally move; she is no longer paralyzed.
The beast calls the planet Ixchel. Meg asks the beast why it is so dark. Everything Meg has seen has been in shades of gray or a shadowy black. The beast is forced to ask Meg for an explanation of what “blackness” means. Then Meg learns that the beast does not see; none of the beasts do. However, Meg is told that this does not mean they do not sense things. The beasts experience their planet in many different ways; they probably sense more than Meg and the other humans can with their eyes.
Meg asks about what is being done about saving her brother, Charles Wallace. The beast, whom Meg now refers to as Aunt Beast, tells Meg that they have called a meeting to determine a plan for the boy’s rescue. Aunt Beast attempts to calm Meg, who is all too eager to blame her father for having abandoned Charles Wallace on Camazotz, the home of IT. Aunt Beast says no one should be blamed, and no one should rush into a plan that has not be thought through. Returning to Camazotz is a very dangerous endeavor, she reminds Meg. Meg surrenders to Aunt Beast’s suggestions. She feels so comfortable and at peace in Aunt Beast’s care, as if Aunt Beast would love Meg no matter what Meg said or did.
After a second nap, Meg continues to question Aunt Beast. Meg asks if she knows Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who, and whether the beasts are fighting the Black Thing. Aunt Beast’s answers are not completely clear. There is a chance that the beasts have other words or names for such things. But Aunt Beast does confirm that they are aware of what Meg calls the Black Thing, and they are doing their best to keep it away from their planet.
Aunt Beast finally allows Meg to reunite with her father and Calvin. However, Aunt Beast disapproves of Meg’s attitude when Meg speaks to them. Aunt Beast tells Meg that she is filled...
(The entire section is 539 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
When Meg sees Mrs. Whatsit, she runs to the woman’s arms—but before reaching her, Meg realizes Mrs. Whatsit is only partially physical. Mrs. Whatsit explains that they hurried there when they heard themselves being called. She asks what it is they want.
Meg informs Mrs. Whatsit that they need to rescue Charles Wallace. Mrs. Whatsit reminds Meg that there is nothing she can do. The three women cannot interfere; it is not their way. At this, Mr. Murry steps forward and asks if the women can teach him to tesser more efficiently so he can go back and get Charles Wallace. The women state that this would not work. They are sure Mr. Murry would not be successful. For this reason, the women cannot allow Mr. Murry to go back to Camazotz.
Calvin jumps up to insist that he be the one to go. Calvin informs the women that he was almost able to pull Charles Wallace out of the trance. Calvin is sure he is the one who would most likely affect Charles Wallace and bring him back. At this suggestion, Mrs. Whatsit shakes her head. She tells Calvin that Charles Wallace is now even deeper into IT. If Calvin were to probe Charles Wallace mentally now, IT would surely trap Calvin, too.
Meg becomes angry. She shouts that she cannot be the one to go. She tells Mrs. Which that she knows they want her to go, but she just cannot do it. Then Meg begins to cry. Deep down, Meg knows she is the only one who can save Charles Wallace. She knows him the best. Charles Wallace also knows her better than he knows Calvin or their father, who has been absent during much of the young boy’s life. Meg is the only one who should go.
After saying good-bye to the others, Meg prepares herself to tesser to Camazotz. Although Mrs. Which cannot go with her, she will be the one in charge of transporting Meg to the other planet. Before Meg leaves, Mrs. Whatsit gives Meg her love. To help Meg, Mrs. Which tells her that she has something IT does not have. If Meg can figure out what that is, she will defeat IT.
Suddenly Meg is back on Camazotz. She is cold again. She walks through the town as she did before and goes directly to the CENTRAL Central Intelligence Building, where she knows she will find IT. As she nears, she feels the power of IT pulling on her. She concentrates on what Mrs. Which told her and wonders what she has that IT does not have.
When Meg first sees Charles Wallace, she becomes angry. IT still has control...
(The entire section is 622 words.)