A Wrinkle in Time Chapter 1 Summary
by Madeleine L'Engle

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Chapter 1 Summary

A Wrinkle in Time begins with an introduction to Margaret “Meg” Murry, an adolescent girl whose mood matches the “dark and stormy” weather that opens the novel. Meg, sitting in her attic bedroom, frets about the storm and her troubles at school—both beyond her control.

Meg’s life at school is dismal. Her teachers do not understand her and her apparent lack of intellect; they suggest that she be held back and not promoted at the end of the school year. Her relationships with other students are no better. When a boy insults her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, Meg instigates a fight. The bruised eye she receives is a small hurt compared to the inner pain she is experiencing. Meg’s father has been absent from the family for a long period of time. The gossip regarding his whereabouts is painful for Meg to hear. She despairs that, unlike her mother, she cannot hide her worry.

Unable to sleep with the storm howling around her attic bedroom, Meg decides to go downstairs to the kitchen and make a cup of hot chocolate. As she approaches the kitchen, she hears the family dog, Fortinbras, barking. Everyone is asleep and Meg is concerned that there might be an intruder in the area. A theft has already occurred at a neighbor’s house.

When Meg reaches the kitchen, she is startled to find Charles Wallace sitting at the table and eating a snack. She is further surprised that he already has milk warming for her hot chocolate. Meg reflects on this and on her siblings in general. Her twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys, are considered to be the “normal” children in the family, but she (the oldest) and Charles Wallace (the youngest) are thought to be odd. Meg’s father, however, has assured her that both she and Charles Wallace are fine and are progressing at their own rates. Meg sees this in Charles Wallace’s development. He did not speak until he was four years old but when he finally did it was in whole sentences. Meg, however, does not see herself in the same light; she believes that she is simply “dumb.”

When Meg notices that there is enough milk in the pan for more than one cup of cocoa, Charles Wallace, showing his precociousness, tells her that he thought their mother might like some as well; he says this just as Mrs. Murry is walking into the kitchen. Charles Wallace volunteers to prepare sandwiches for all of them, and while the twins remain asleep, Mrs. Murry, Meg, and Charles Wallace settle in to their snacks in the warm, bright kitchen and discuss the sorry events of the...

(The entire section is 662 words.)