What is a summary of A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle?

Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Madeleine L'Engle's young adult novel A Ring of Endless Light relays Vicky Austin's story as she tries to cope with her ill grandfather's impending death, understanding the purpose of life, and finding love.

As usual, Vicky goes with her family to Seven Bay Island to visit her grandfather but this time knows their stay will be prolonged because her grandfather is on his deathbed. At the start of summer, Vicky is faced with her first taste of death when family friend Commander Rodney dies rescuing a victim of drowning. Vicky soon learns though that it had been her ex-boyfriend Zachary Gray who Commander Rodney was rescuing, but Zachary had not been drowning; he was trying to commit suicide. The commander's heart had failed while rescuing Zach. When Zach tells Vicky she's the only important thing he has in his life, Vicky thinks she might want to rekindle their relationship.

Soon, though, Vicky's deep conversations with her friend Leo about his father's death, Commander Rodney, lead Leo to ask Vicky for more than just friendship.

Though Vicky's grandfather is ill, he is still able to talk with Vicky about her problems, and she shares with him her confused feelings about both Zach and Leo. But before long, Vicky's love triangle develops into an even more confusing love quadrilateral when she meets Adam, a biologist ‚ÄĆinvestigating human's ability to communicate with dolphins through ESP. She begins enjoying spending time with both Adam and his dolphins and learns she can communicate easily with the dolphins.

At one point, Vicky's grandfather takes a turn for the worse but recovers after a blood transfusion. The rest of the summer is spent dating all three young men and spending time with her grandfather until he takes another turn he does not recover from. In the end, it's Adam and his dolphins who help Vicky recover from her grief.

shmindle | Student

A Ring of Endless Light is a novel written by Madeleine L'Engle. The plot follows 16 year old Vicky Austin's summer on Seven Bay Island. Vicky and her family are staying there because her grandfather has leukemia and is dying. Vicky's ex-boyfriend from the previous summer, a rich young man named Zachary, attempts suicide, but is rescued by Commander Rodney, who has a heart attack and dies in the process. Vicky decides to give Zachary a second chance. Vicky also develops two other relationships. One is with Captain Rodney's son Leo; While Vicky wants to be friends, Leo wants to be more. The third relationship is with an intern, Adam, who works with dolphins. While spending time with Adam, she discovers her ability to communicate with dolphins without words. Vicky's grandfather becomes very sick at the end and receives blood transfusions. The grandfather's medical crisis emotionally traumatizes Vicky, but Adam takes her to the ocean and the dolphins comfort her.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question