How does setting affect the plot in A Wrinkle in Time?

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The settings in A Wrinkle in Time strongly reflect the nature of the moral environment in which the characters are living at any given moment. The settings impact the plot of the story in the sense that characters attain nurture and strength in positive, loving environments and use that to successfully fight evil in oppressive, soul-killing environments. The settings help us as readers understand the nature of good and evil, and why evil needs to be defeated.

An important setting that represents good is the Murry home. It is a rambling, old-fashioned, New England house. Unlike the outer world of school and community and the storm that rages as the novel opens, the house is a center of love and security for Meg and Charles Wallace (and the twins) as well as, later, Calvin. It might be a bit chaotic—Meg sleeps in a comfortable attic but bumps into a table on her way downstairs—yet Meg always knows she will find nurture within these walls. This is depicted early on when Meg, Charles Wallace, and their mother share midnight sandwiches and cocoa in their warm, inviting kitchen.

Camazotz, a planet under the power of the Black Thing, is a setting that contrasts sharply with the Murry household. Seemingly made up of pleasant suburbs, the planet's evil is made clear through the rigid conformity of its people. Everyone does everything at the same time, such as the children bouncing balls outside, and any deviant from the norm is punished. It is impossible to imagine a family on Camazotz gathering for an impromptu midnight snack as the Murrys do.

As the setting on Camazotz moves to the city and the children encounter IT, the evils of mind control become more clear. The children meet an illusory world in which a turkey dinner is really made of sawdust, and the loveless red eyes of IT seek to rob the children of their individuality and humanity.

The details of setting advance the plot by showing the value of freedom and individual self-determination over the evils of mind control. We identify more strongly with the battle the children wage because we know from the images we are confronted with which world is better for human growth.

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