A Wrinkle in Time

11 Sep

I know what you’re going to say.  You’re going to say, Kelly, this is not a video.

I’m actually pretty frustrated about that!  I had a whole plan for doing the video this morning, which has unfortunately unraveled.

NEXT WEEK.  NEXT WEEK IT WILL HAPPEN.

 

Until then, here are my views on the major themes in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

 

AWIT was one of those books everyone read when they were little.  Everyone, that is, except me.  I remember being a kid and sneaking into my older sister’s room to steal her copy, but a few chapters in, I decided it was boring and put it back.  Until this week, I had never picked it up again.

I have to say, I was kind of excited when this one made it onto the list, mostly because I expected to like it much more the second time around.  And I was correct…eventually.  For the first few chapters, I really thought that I might have been right the first time I read the book: it WAS dull.  Thankfully, it picked up partway through, and actually provided me with a lot of food for thought.

The major themes I noted were free will and individuality, and I really liked the way that the two related and complimented each other.  The villain of the novel–the frightening “black thing” that is known as IT–takes over worlds by sapping their inhabitants of their free will.  IT explains that this is a good thing; after all, decisions are difficult, as are the consequences.  Really, IT says, IT’S doing everyone a big ol’ favor by taking on the burden of making all the tough calls and leaving these people free from the burden of choice.

With a lack of choice, of free will, however, comes a lack of individuality.  There’s a really great, really creepy scene where Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin go to another world where every house is the same, and every boy playing with a ball outside is bouncing said ball at the same exact time.  The uniformity is what is so unsettling.

The book illustrates perfectly how essential free will is to being an actual human being.  There’s an old saying about a person being defined by his or her actions–that actions speak louder than words.  Well, action is the RESULT of choice, and our choices are what define us.  So without options, without the power to make decisions for ourselves, we lose what makes us individuals, and what makes each person unique and special.  Sure, decisions are hard, but they are such a huge part of what makes us human.  And anyway, who the hell said life was easy?

By the way, did anyone else like having a character named Calvin in a book which is focused on free will?  That was so not an accident.

So, those are my thoughts on AWIT.  What are yours?

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2 Responses to “A Wrinkle in Time”

  1. jamiemcq September 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    I’m about halfway through and just read your first paragraph about how you read half of it as a kid then thought it was lame & quit – I totally did that too! All I remembered was that illustration of the ant on the string explanation of a tesserect. lol. I like it a lot more now, and one of the perks of YA lit is it is quick reading 🙂 I hope to finish in the next few days & will jump in to the discussion then!

  2. jamiemcq September 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Okay, I finally finished. I guess I overall liked it, but didn’t love it. I’d probably give it a solid 3/5 stars, maybe 3.5.

    I really did like the theme/lesson that lack of choice does not make life better. Taking away all of the hardships in life sounds appealing (VERY appealing sometimes!) but it’s also kind of what makes us grow as people and find out what we’re really made of. That, for a YA book, was very high-minded and prescient, in my opinion! Loved that.

    But, my criticisms are…

    1. I kept comparing it to Harry Potter. Maybe bc it was the three of them off to save the world from a dark evil power and/or the imagined worlds and words. And honestly, it just didn’t stack up in my mind. For that, you’ve got to give lots of kudos to JK Rowling. AWIT was a major work of YA Fantasy and she blew it away. IMO at least. Certain things seemed too glossed over – like HOW do you tesser? Is it like a Power Rangers watch button or do you have to think a special thought? It seemed like there were a few things like that where Madeline L’Engle could have told us more and just didn’t.

    2. The ending. Puh-lease. It was all a little simple and easy for me. i didn’t mind the whole “I can love and IT can’t” thing, but it was like they did that and BAM they’re back in the field on Earth. I was getting close to the end and Meg is trying to find Charles and there, what, like 8 pages left? I’m thinking how is this all going to resolve? See #1 re: JK Rowling.

    3. I felt consistently disappointed in Meg’s character. It seemed as if all the characters talked down to her and she didn’t have any self-confidence. Even when they were trying to make her feel like she had the power to save CW, it was like “give it a try, you might not mess up.” (paraphrased… lol) That was something that kinda pissed me off, she was always made out to be ugly and awkward. Not that I need her to be pretty & suave, but a strong heroine who believes in herself & abilities (like Hermione) is much more of a strong role model and, frankly, more fun to hang out with for a few hundred pages. And as the mother of a girl, I like to see strong role models in YA books.

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