A Wind in the Door Summary
by Madeleine L'Engle

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A Wind in the Door Summary

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

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A Wind in the Door takes the children of the Time Quartet even further into the science-fiction and fantasy world of the tesseract as they eventually travel time and space to enter the mitochondria of Charles Wallace’s cells, as tiny as the farandola that they are accompanying.

The novel opens with the discovery that Charles Wallace is ill and weakening. This illness, readers discover later in the novel, is caused by evil forces of the Echthroi, who are eliminating stars in the universe and creating a rip in the galaxy. The forces of the Echthroi are also affecting Charles Wallace’s mitochondria by encouraging his fanadolae not to follow their course and take root and grow strong. Therefore, he is weakening and dying from lack of oxygen.

He leads Meg to make the discovery of the cherubim, Progo, a supernatural creature with many wings and many eyes who looks nothing like the human idea of a cherubim. He will be part of her class, and the teacher Blajeny will instruct them in their three tests. Calvin is also part of this class and will be alongside Meg again to communicate his love and confidence to empower her. With the cherubim, she must pass the first test: identify the real principal Mr. Jenkins, whom she dislikes, out of three other imposters. She struggles and eventually is able to choose the real Mr. Jenkins by thinking of something lovable about him and using that against the others.

The reoccurrence of the guide, as seen in Progo, follows the theme of the series, which presents the children with a quest and supernatural obstacles to overcome. However, it differs a bit in A Wind in the Door as Progo is also learning and must pass these tests with the children, or he will cease to exist. The group must tesser not only in time but also in space, as they shrink in size to that of a farandola and enter Charles Wallace’s body. Once they learn to breathe and kythe as the farandolae do, their second test requires them to convince the farandole Sporos to deepen and grow roots in the mitochondria and become a fara in order to save Charles Wallace by fixing his mitochondria. The group, including the real Mr. Jenkins, Progo, Calvin, and Meg, attempt to kythe to Sporos, without luck. Meg is saved by Mr. Jenkins when she is pulled into the Echthroi. Their final test is to save Mr. Jenkins, as he is pulled into the Echthroi for Meg’s sake. She must then kythe to him and fill the...

(The entire section is 630 words.)