As we begin this journey into A Wrinkle in Time I thought it would be good to start with some ideas about who is who. (not Mrs. Who, I’ll give you a description of her character with the others listed below.) I am talking about who the people are in this story. Let’s get started:
Meg (Margaret) Murry : 13 year old girl who is a misfit at school, despite her unusual intelligence that the teachers can’t seem to appreciate. The main source of her unhappiness, however, comes from the fact that her brilliant scientist father disappeared a number of years ago, and has made no contact with his loving, close-knit family since.
Charles Wallace Murry: Meg’s gifted 5 year old brother. More to come on his character next week. I don’t want to give too much away.
Calvin O’Keefe: a 14 year old boy who’s so smart he’s in eleventh grade and a talented athlete at that. He enters the Murrys’ lives in a most unexpected way in Chapter 2. Again, more to come!
Mrs. (Dr.) Murry: A beautiful, brilliant scientist with a wonderful family, Mrs. Murry does her best to lovingly take care of her children while her husband has mysteriously disappeared and hides her unhappiness at his absence.
Mr. (Dr.) Murry: Mr. Murry, the children’s long disappeared father, is a brilliant physicist.
Mrs. Whatsit: First appearing to Meg, Charles Wallace, and Mrs. Murry as an old, funnily dressed woman, Mrs. Whatsit is nothing close to what she appears to be.
Mrs. Who: A plump old woman with huge glasses, Mrs. Who’s unique trait is that she speaks mostly in quotations since she can’t communicate so well on her own.
Sandy and Dennys Murry: The twins are thinly “normal” members of the Murry family. They are well adjusted, average students, and try to protect their siblings from being bullied too much at school.
Mr. Jenkins: The principal at Meg’s school. He tries to get Meg to improve her attitude, but also seems to take a rather unpleasant interest in the absence of Mr. Murry.
These are the people that you have been introduced to in these first two chapters. There are a few more that I will outline as we continue through the book.
As we first meet Meg, she considers herself an oddball or misfit. She just plain doesn’t fit in. When have you ever had that feeling? Think of a time when you felt out of place. What did that feel like to you?
Meg goes downstairs because of the fear she has toward the storm, and perhaps the loneliness of her fathers disappearance. She seems surprised to find Charles Wallace waiting for her and also that he is expecting their mother too. After reading further we find that Charles Wallace has an ability to understand people in a different sort of way. Do you or anyone else you know have a different understanding of people?
What do think is up with Mrs. Whatsit? She, too, seems to know things that no one else really knows! How do you react when you meet friendly strangers? Does it matter where you are as to how you react? Meg is sure quick to judge her. Is that a trait that you possess? How do we learn to accept and love people for who they are? How did Jesus love “the least” among us?
Just note that Mrs. Whatsit casually mentions “tesseract.” We will revisit this many times throughout the book!
Calvin and Charles Wallace have a standoff. Each boy is trying to decide if he can trust the other. What do you look for when you are trying to trust someone else? We see the effects of the kind of appearance-based stereotyping that this book is committed to debunking in the first meeting. Calvin, who knows that everyone just sees him as an athletic popular kid who lacks anything interesting beyond those qualities, dos not believe that Charles Wallace truly understands who he is. For this reason, Calvin is suspicious and over-explains what he means.
This chapter also directly speaks to the question of difference. Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin all are seen as eccentric or different in some way, and the two boys acknowledge it for the first time in a way that seems positive ( as opposed to the way Meg thinks about her differences as negative.). When you look in the mirror, what do you see? How many positive things can you say about yourself? Which number is bigger, the negative or the positive?
Nobody can explain why Calvin has so suddenly and completely hit it off with Charles Wallace and Meg, but the love between them seems genuine. This genuine love cannot be explained or accounted for, and its power is beyond that of reason. Calvin, having found others who are different in the way that he is (even though he has been hiding his differences in public) makes him suddenly feel a kind of familial connection that makes him feel that going to the Murry home is like going to his own home. That’s a remarkable statement that shows how powerful the love between these characters is. Who do you have in your life that you have genuine love for? Are there relationships that are not blood related that you possess that offer you love?
Also note that Calvin, unlike Meg, seems not at all perturbed by what he can’t understand. He is not suspicious or dismissive of his feelings of love and joy that come from a mysterious place – he embraces them and allows them to make him happy. What is your reaction to things you can’t understand? Who do you turn to for guidance and direction? What makes you happy?