How do the characters in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time communicate without words?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, is a story that contains many elements of fantasy and science fiction. One of them is the ability of people from earth to travel to other planets, and on those planets are creatures which would be considered aliens. The story is a battle between good and evil, and it is fought primarily (at least by humans) by three members of the Murry family--Mr. Murry and two of his children, Meg and Charles Wallace--and a new friend of the two children, Calvin O'Keefe.

One of the ways they are able to fight the force of evil called IT is through a kind of telepathic communication L'Engle calls "kything." While Calvin does seem to be connected to the two Murry children, the connection between Meg and her brother is the strongest. It is these two who are able to save their father and their planet from the evil of IT.

One thing kything can do is send multisensory images, without any speaking, over distance, as in this example with Meg:

The movement assumed shape and form, and images were kythed to her mind's eye, visual projections, superimposed swiftly one over the other; she tried to send them to Mr. Jenkins:

a primordial fern forest;

a giant bed of kelp swaying to submarine currents;

a primeval forest of ancient trees, with rough, silver bark....

To the visual images music was added....

Of course the other way kything works is to send spoken messages, or fragments of messages, to another person. In fact, at the end of the novel, Meg manages to save Charles Wallace by kything him her love and encouragement, which were stronger than the hate emanating from IT.

In short, in this young adult novel, certain characters are able to communicate telepathically (without physically speaking) through kything. 

Read the study guide:
A Wrinkle in Time

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