It may have been required reading in sixth grade, but that doesn’t mean it was any less enjoyable. For some of us, the concept of a tesseract in Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ (1963) might’ve confounded us, but luckily it prepared us for other science fiction stories that incorporated the same concept. ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is today’s Throwback Thursday, a look at science fiction of the past.
In the young adult classic, Meg is our protagonist, a troubled misfit whose scientist father has been missing. She has a close bond with her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, a child prodigy. Meg and Charles Wallace, along with Meg’s schoolmate Calvin, encounter a kooky neighbor named Mrs. Whatsit who encourages them to find her father. It turns out that Mrs. Whatsit, along with her cohorts Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, are supernatural beings that can use the power of a portal known as a tesseract to travel anywhere in the universe.
As the Mrs. W’s take our heroes to far off distances, we learn that a force of evil known as the Black Thing is threatening many planets, including Earth. They are able to locate Meg and Charles Wallace’s father, but it’s on a planet that completely succumbed to the Black Thing and is ruled by a telepathic brain known as an IT. Risks are taken and lives are threatened. However, the uniquely human concept known as love proves beneficial.
Yes, author Madeleine L’Engle hammers home a few Christian ideals, which could alienate a few young readers, but ultimately it’s the alienated characters themselves that capture the empathy of adolescents.
Did you have to read “A Wrinkle in Time”? What did you think of it?