Book Reviews and Highlights

A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L'Engle

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  • Time Travel
  • The most memorable books from our childhoods are those that make us feel less alone, convince us that our own foibles and quirks are both as individual as a finger- print and as universal as an open hand.
  • An Appreciation by Anna Quindlen | Page: 2
  • Conformity knows no time or place; it is the struggle all of us face, to be ourselves despite the overwhelming pressure to be like everyone else.
  • An Appreciation by Anna Quindlen | Page: 2
  • It was a dark and stormy night.
  • Chapter 1: Mrs Whatsit | Page: 3
  • #first-sentence
  • She looked at herself in the wardrobe mirror and made a horrible face, baring a mouthful of teeth covered with braces.
  • Chapter 1: Mrs Whatsit | Page: 5
  • I really must learn to read, except I’m afraid it will make it awfully hard for me in school next year if I already know things. I think it will be better if people go on thinking I’m not very bright. They won’t hate me quite so much.”
  • Chapter 2: Mrs Who | Page: 28
  • “Thinking I’m a moron gives people something to feel smug about,” Charles Wallace said. “Why should I disillusion them? How old are you, Cal?”
  • Chapter 2: Mrs Who | Page: 30
  • “Your mother’s a completely different person and she’s a lot older than you are.” “I wish I were a different person,” Meg said shakily. “I hate myself.”
  • Chapter 3: Mrs Which | Page: 49
  • This movement, she felt, must be the turning of the earth, rotating on its axis, traveling its elliptic course about the sun.
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 54
  • And this feeling of moving with the earth was somewhat like the feeling of being in the ocean, out in the ocean beyond this rising and falling of the breakers, lying on the moving water, pulsing gently with the swells, and feeling the gentle, inexorable tug of the moon.
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 54
  • “Mrs Who, I wish you’d stop quoting!” Charles Wallace sounded very annoyed. Mrs Whatsit adjusted her stole. “But she finds it so difficult to verbalize, Charles dear. It helps her if she can quote instead of working out words of her own.”
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 57
  • “Anndd wee mussttn’tt looose ourr sensses of hummorr,” Mrs Which said. “Thee onnlly wway ttoo ccope withh ssometthingg ddeadly sseriouss iss ttoo ttry ttoo trreatt itt a llittlle lligghtly.”
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 57
  • “Oh, we don’t travel at the speed of anything,” Mrs Whatsit explained earnestly. “We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle.”
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 58
  • Outwardly Mrs Whatsit was surely no longer a Mrs Whatsit. She was a marble white body with powerful flanks, something like a horse but at the same time completely unlike a horse, for from the magnificently modeled back sprang a nobly formed torso, arms, and a head resembling a man’s, but a man with a perfection of dignity and virtue, an exaltation of joy such as Meg had never before seen.
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 61
  • She? he? it? smiled at them, and the radiance of the smile was as tangible as a soft breeze, as directly warming as the rays of the sun.
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 62
  • What could there be about a shadow that was so terrible that she knew that there had never been before or ever would be again, anything that would chill her with a fear that was beyond shuddering, beyond crying or screaming, beyond the possibility of comfort?
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 68
  • Darkness glazed her eyes and mind, but as she started to fall into unconsciousness her head dropped down into the flowers which she was still clutching; and as she inhaled the fragrance of their purity her mind and body revived, and she sat up again.
  • Chapter 4: The Black Thing | Page: 68
  • “Well, the fifth dimension’s a tesseract. You add that to the other four dimensions and you can travel through space without having to go the long way around.
  • Chapter 5: The Tesseract | Page: 75
  • But of course we can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.
  • Chapter 5: The Tesseract | Page: 80
  • “Therre willl nno llonggerr bee sso manyy pplleasanntt thinggss too llookk att iff rressponssible ppeoplle ddo nnott ddoo ssomethingg abboutt thee unnppleassanntt oness.”
  • Chapter 5: The Tesseract | Page: 82
  • “Que la terre est petite à qui la voit des cieux! Delille. How small is the earth to him who looks from heaven,” Mrs Who intoned musically.
  • Chapter 5: The Tesseract | Page: 82
  • “It was a star,” Mrs Whatsit said sadly. “A star giving up its life in battle with the Thing. It won, oh, yes, my children, it won. But it lost its life in the winning.”
  • Chapter 6: The Happy Medium | Page: 88
  • “I have been waiting for you, my dears,” the man said. His voice was kind and gentle, not at all the cold and frightening voice Meg had expected. It took her a moment to realize that though the voice came from the man, he had not opened his mouth or moved his lips at all, that no real words had been spoken to fall upon her ears, that he had somehow communicated directly into their brains.
  • Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes | Page: 114
  • Meg stared at the man in horrified fascination. His eyes were bright and had a reddish glow. Above his head was a light, and it glowed in the same manner as the eyes, pulsing, throbbing, in steady rhythm.
  • Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes | Page: 115
  • For why should you wish to fight someone who is here only to save you pain and trouble?
  • Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes | Page: 116
  • For you, as well as for the rest of all the happy, useful people on this planet, I, in my own strength, am willing to assume all the pain, all the responsibility, all the burdens of thought and decision.”
  • Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes | Page: 116
  • She tried looking at the mouth, at the thin, almost colorless lips, and this was more possible, even though she had to look obliquely, so that she was not sure exactly what the face really looked like, whether it was young or old, cruel or kind, human or alien.
  • Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes | Page: 117
  • The table was set up in front of them, and the dark- smocked men heaped their plates with turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy and little green peas with big yellow blobs of butter melting in them and cranberries and sweet potatoes topped with gooey browned marshmallows and olives and celery and rosebud radishes and—
  • Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes | Page: 123
  • “Why don’t you trust me, Charles? Why don’t you trust me enough to come in and find out what I am? I am peace and utter rest. I am freedom from all responsibility. To come in to me is the last difficult decision you need ever make.”
  • Chapter 7: The Man with Red Eyes | Page: 124
  • “But nobody’s ever happy, either,” Meg said earnestly. “Maybe if you aren’t unhappy sometimes you don’t know how to be happy. Calvin, I want to go home.”
  • Chapter 8: The Transparent Column | Page: 136
  • No mind has tried to hold out against IT for so many thousands of centuries that certain centers have become soft and atrophied through lack of use.
  • Chapter 10: Absolute Zero | Page: 158
  • And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
  • Chapter 10: Absolute Zero | Page: 166
  • “Are you fighting the Black Thing?” Meg asked. “Oh, yes,” Aunt Beast replied. “In doing that we can never relax. We are the called according to His purpose, and whom He calls, them He also justifies. Of course we have help, and without help it would be much more difficult.”
  • Chapter 11: Aunt Beast | Page: 178
  • “We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal.”
  • Chapter 11: Aunt Beast | Page: 179
  • “Guardian angels!” There was a moment’s silence, and he shouted again, his face tense with concentration, “Messengers! Messengers of God!”
  • Chapter 11: Aunt Beast | Page: 183
  • “You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?” “Yes.” Mrs Whatsit said. “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”
  • Chapter 12: The Foolish and the Weak | Page: 192
  • The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.”
  • Chapter 12: The Foolish and the Weak | Page: 194
  • But they never learned what it was that Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which had to do, for there was a gust of wind, and they were gone.
  • Chapter 12: The Foolish and the Weak | Page: 203
  • #last-sentence
  • I believe this as strongly now as I did then. Most of what is best in writing isn’t done deliberately.
  • Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech: The Expanding Universe | Page: 204
  • A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.
  • Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech: The Expanding Universe | Page: 204