How does Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle in Time differ from typical five-year-olds?

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In A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, Charles Wallace is unlike other five-year-olds in his intellectual development, his extensive intuition, and his ability to learn and grow with courage.

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In Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, Charles Wallace is not a typical five-year-old. For one thing, this little boy is highly intelligent and intuitive. While he did not start talking until later than most children, when he did, it was in full sentences and with a vocabulary far beyond his age. He would very much like to learn to read, but he is concerned that when he starts school, he will be so far ahead of the other children as to stand out more than he already does. Further, Charles Wallace knows how to do things that most kids of his age would not be trusted to do. He heats up milk for hot chocolate and makes sandwiches with ease, acting like a child twice his age. Charles Wallace may be small in body and young in age, but he is so advanced as to nearly rival or surpass his older siblings.

Charles Wallace's knowledge extends beyond his intellect. This little boy has an intuition that sees beyond the surfaces of things to the reality beneath. Especially with regard to his mother and his sister Meg, Charles Wallace has a sense of what they are thinking and feeling that most adults would lack. He is, for instance, waiting downstairs for Meg on the night of the storm, knowing that she will come down. He is ready to provide comfort and support that most children would not have the slightest idea how to give.

Further, Charles Wallace is open to intellectual and intuitive growth. He longs for knowledge from all sources. This is why he takes so quickly and without question to beings like Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which as well as to travel by tesseract. Charles Wallace is eager; his mind is strong and expansive, able to accept what others reject due to their faulty presuppositions. Furthermore, Charles Wallace does this with a courage far beyond his years. When Meg and Calvin hesitate out of fear, Charles Wallace strengthens and encourages them. He is indeed a special boy in every sense of the word.

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