I love Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. The story is a stunning adventure of two children journeying through space to rescue their missing father from the terrifying IT.
Difficult themes in A Wrinkle in Time
The beauty of L’Engle’s storytelling, however, is that she presents difficult themes and asks challenging questions of her readers. One such question appears in the character of Mr. Murry, Meg’s father—the one they are trying to rescue.
The interesting thing about his character is that for every chapter leading up to his rescue, Meg expects him to be strong—above evil—and a perfect comforter. However, when she meets him, he is a shell of himself, not perfect by any means, confused and traumatized. Meg has to learn to accept that her father too is riding in the balance between good and evil. He’s not perfect. And that’s the question L’Engle asks of the children reading her book. What happens when you find out your parents are not perfect?
To love is to be vulnerable
Meg discovers, however, that though her father is far from perfect, he is also fighting against evil. He is much more like herself than she first imagined, trying to determine the right thing to do. Meg learns that family requires her to think of them just as much as they need to think of her. Her father cannot be everything for her, but they can still find love and teamwork in the grand struggle to fight for good and resist the temptations of evil.
In a powerful, narrator voice, L’Engle writes, “To love is to be vulnerable; and it is only in vulnerability and risk—not safety and security—that we overcome darkness.” Meg found relationship with her father not by purely receiving, but by being willing to accept him as he was and to trust that he would do the same.
One thing that surprised me was the author sending Meg alone to save Charles Wallace. The book explains the reasoning behind this as Meg being the one who truly knows Charles. But as a reader it felt confusing why she would send her alone.
If it were up to me I would have sent her with companions. I think this just relates to how I live my own life though—I rarely travel alone. I have been learning to find the beauty in the times where I am alone by necessity, but ever since I was a kid I have truly believed that together is better.
Maybe my inner child responded to this part of the story because I don’t like to be alone. Maybe L’Engle picked up on the desire to be together as a common trait of children, and addressed the situation that many children find themselves in despite their fears; being alone.
Madeleine L'Engle's Worldview
I have often wondered about the worldview of Madeleine L'Engle. Because of her propensity to stretch the thinking of a young reader, I approached her stories with caution. It wasn't until I read her thoughts on her creative process that I felt like I understood where she was coming from. She writes:
My feelings about art and my feelings about the Creator of the Universe are inseparable. To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory.Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
Hi, I’m Andy! I am a student at Ouachita Baptist University who writes stories and plays guitar in between classes. The puzzle and mystery of languages fascinate me and inspire me to dig deeper. I love to learn and experience God’s creation and share what I have found with others.