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Madeline L’Engle’s Newbery Award Medal winner not only fits Joseph Campbell’s Hero Quest and The Call to Adventures’ outline very closely but it also reflects the relationship between God and Satan and how we deal with battling between them in our own lives. The three main areas that this fantasy story touched on were blunder, the crossing of the first threshold, and the return of the hero back to his home. The main characters of the story were Mr. and Mrs. Murray, two of their four children Meg (age 13) and Charles Wallace (age 5), their friend Calvin (age 13), and the three good heralds (Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs Which, age very old) versus the evil IT (Burnett 1).
“It is a dark and stormy night. Meg Murray, her small brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are in the kitchen for a midnight snack when a most disturbing visitor arrives. Wild nights are my glory,’ the unearthly stranger tells them. I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract?’ Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart- stopping journey through space” (L’Engle 215)?
The story begins with the unsolved disappearance of Mr. Murray in the midst of one of his scientific experiments. The blunder was the quest to find out what happened to him and bring him back home to relieve mothers heartache. Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin were granted help in finding Mr. Murray from the three heralds, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. They (the Mrs’s) each gave their own input and power in assisting the children on their journey and they explained to them that they will need to tesser (the form of travel in which they used) in order to reach father’s destination. Before their journey began Mrs. Whatsit informed the children that the fifth dimension was a tesseract and that they would feel a little uncomfortably strange while they were being transported from one dimension to the other (L’Engle 82). Upon arrival to their destination on the planet Camazotz, the heralds calmed the children down by giving them words of wisdom and enlightened them on the fact that they had to go and leave the rest of the quest of finding their father into their own hands.
The crossing of the First Threshold occurred shortly after they were abandoned by the heralds on grassy hills and led through the neighborhood with strange things going on(Handout). Everyone was functioning in unison. The children were all bouncing the balls at the same time and with the same rhythm. When it was time to come home their mothers all opened the front doors and called for their children at the same time. Not knowing where to turn, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin hesitantly knocked on one of the doors for help in finding Mr. Murray. They were unsuccessful in finding out any information. The lady who answered the door seemed to be horrified of their presence and slammed the door on their faces without offering any help. Following many hours of walking aimlessly the children approached a very tall building, the CENTRAL, Central Intelligence Office (L’Engle 110). They made the choice to enter through the doorway in a desperate search to find any information leading to Mr. Murray’s whereabouts (Handout). The building contained people who were sitting around like statues reflecting the green marbled walls against their faces.
The children walked down the end of a hallway to a man that was sitting on a chair. After finding out that the children were strangers to the planet Camazotz the man became fearful of being reprocessed by a machine and had to resort in keeping the children until they were processed themselves. While waiting to be seen by someone in authority the man with red eyes was able to hypnotize Charles Wallace, turning him into a heartless boy.
“He was dressed like Charles Wallace; he looked like Charles Wallace; he had the same sandy brown hair, the same face that had not yet lost its baby roundness. Only the eyes were different, for the black was still swallowed up in blue (L’Engle 133).”
The man with the red eyes then led them to their father who was trapped inside a glass column. Everyone on the planet Camazotz including Father was under the control of IT. While being led down a hallway on route to IT, Meg felt a rhythmical pulsing that was starting to take over her own functions. She managed to escape IT’s power. Getting closer Meg discovered that IT was just an oversized disembodied brain. IT had total control over everyone’s actions and thoughts on the planet Camazotz except for Meg and Calvin. After much attempt and struggle to free father it was now time to attempt the journey back home. Meg was faced with leaving her brother Charles Wallace who remained under the hypnotic state of IT. After leaving Charles Wallace, Meg, Father, and Calvin accidently tessered to an unknown planet of the beasts (who represented good). The tesser was a tough ride and left Meg unconscious. The beasts nursed her back to health with kind and gentle care. When she came to consciousness Meg expressed that she was distraught about leaving her brother on the planet Camazotz and did not want to go any further towards home without him. The heralds appeared once again and after a short battle with Mr. Murray and Calvin the decision was made that Meg was the best person for the job of returning to Camazotz to rescue Charles Wallace from the evil forces (IT).
The focus of the return was based on the struggle of good versus evil (Handout). As a result of a fairly smooth return Meg was once again on the planet of Camazotz in the presence of the boy who looked like Charles Wallace still seemed to be under total control of IT. Through the constant struggle to avoid hypnotism herself Meg somehow was able to get through to her brother with many words of love.
“Charles. Charles, I love you. My baby brother who always takes care of me. Come back to me, Charles Wallace, come away from IT, come back, come home. I love you, Charles. Oh, Charles Wallace, I love you (L’Engle 208).”
After repeating her love for her brother over and over again Meg was able to pull Charles Wallace out of his hypnotic hold. Finally part of the Hero’s quest was completed successfully. Charles Wallace was Charles Wallace once again and very happy to see Meg. While they were embracing each other something was happening….
“A whirl of darkness. An icy cold blast. An angry, resentful howl that seemed to tear through her. Darkness again. Through the darkness to save her came a sense of Mrs. Whatsit’s presence, so that she knew it could not be IT who now had her in its clutches (L’Engle 209).”
Meg and Charles Wallace were actually being tessered across the return threshold with the company of Father and Calvin. When the whirlwind came to a stop Meg questioned her Father on their whereabouts. To everyone’s surprise they were back home in the vegetable garden of the twins, who were the other two children of Mr. and Mrs. Murray. Yes, they were home at last. The quest was successful and ended the story happily ever after.
“A Wrinkle in Time” resembled many steps in Joseph Campbell’s Hero Quest and The Call to Adventure. It also had a strong similarity to the reality of life itself. Meg, Charles Wallace, Calvin, and Mr. Murray encountered many good versus evil situations throughout the story. Sometimes we too are faced with making a choice that asks us to chance a relationship with forces that are not exactly understood. However we continue to search for the right answer and pray to God for his guidance that we will make the right choices and be granted the power not to be tempted by Satan. My interpretation of the story was all about the struggle that many people face to live for God over the temptations of Satan. Things that are easy are not necessarily the right way to go. In fact, some of the best lessons in life are learned the hard way. “A Wrinkle in Time” was a continual struggle to avoid the evil IT and in the end, with much faith and positive mental attitude, the good prevailed !!!
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