Critical Evaluation

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

One of the overarching themes of The Time Quartet, a work of young adult fiction, is the battle of good versus evil. Madeleine L’Engle demonstrates this battle on both the macrocosmic (outer space) and the microcosmic (cellular) levels, and then back through time. This is a battle that is informed by L’Engle’s Christian beliefs; the battle between good and evil is infused with divine implications. Characters often quote or paraphrase biblical verses and imply that those fighting the Dark Thing and the Echthroi are doing so at the behest of a divine power. This is especially true in A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Many Waters also deals with Christian beliefs, but does so in a more direct way, simply inserting the twins into a biblical tale.

Another overarching theme in the quartet is the power of love. L’Engle describes love as a sort of weapon for goodness. In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg has love, but IT lacks it; her deliberate choice to love the essentially unlovable Mr. Jenkins helps her to save the life of her brother Charles Wallace in A Wind in the Door. Charles Wallace is able to influence the might-have-beens in A Swiftly Tilting Planet because of his ability to influence the decisions of those he “inhabits.” The title Many Waters is based upon a verse from the Song of Solomon: “Many waters cannot quench love.”

L’Engle also relies heavily upon symbolism in her novels, especially with the names for her more fantastical creatures. In Many Waters, she uses names from Jewish and Christian legends to name the seraphim and nephilim...

(The entire section is 694 words.)