A Wrinkle in Time

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The Man with the Red Eyes Character Analysis

The children find the man with the red eyes waiting for them on Camazotz, once they enter the CENTRAL Central Intelligence building and are sent to speak with whoever is in authority. Like all those under IT's control, it is never really him who is speaking to the children, but IT. He (or rather, IT) manages to bring Charles' mind under the control of IT, but after the IT-controlled Charles then takes Meg and Calvin to see Mr. Murry's prison cell, the man with the red eyes is seen no more.

The Man with the Red Eyes Quotes in A Wrinkle in Time

The A Wrinkle in Time quotes below are all either spoken by The Man with the Red Eyes or refer to The Man with the Red Eyes. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Nonconformity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Square Fish edition of A Wrinkle in Time published in 2007.
Chapter 7 Quotes

"For why should you wish to fight someone who is here only to save you pain and trouble? 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."

Related Characters: The Man with the Red Eyes (speaker)
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

In this sinister scene, The Man with the Red Eyes is trying to convince the characters to stop resisting and conform to the norms of Camazotz. While he frames this as a way for them to find happiness, it is clear that the presence of these nonconforming people is a threat to The Man with the Red Eyes. L'Engle gives the man a soothing and delicate voice to stress, again, the disjunction between appearance and reality and the importance of looking to the essence of things rather than relying on their superficial appearance for judgment.

This scene is also symbolic of the general conflict of the book. Here, The Man with the Red Eyes is offering the characters easy happiness and freedom from pain in exchange for their cooperation. While what he promises sounds wonderful (much like erasing your individuality to become popular at school), the reality is obviously much more complicated. The characters have to learn the value of their individuality and the power of love in order to discern good from evil and defeat The Black Thing.


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Now the red eyes and the light above seemed to bore into Charles, and again the pupils of the little boy's eyes contracted. When the final point of black was lost in blue he turned away from the red eyes, looked at Meg, and smiled sweetly, but the smile was not Charles Wallace's smile.

Related Characters: The Man with the Red Eyes (speaker), Charles Wallace Murry
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:

This is one of the most concrete examples in the book of the disconnection between appearance and reality. This scene, in which Charles Wallace's body is physically present but his personality is gone shows that Charles Wallace's essence is something that is entirely separate from how he appears. To confront this version of Charles Wallace is a challenge to these characters because it seems to them to be Charles Wallace, but they have to remember that this version of him is not who he truly is.

This scene also shows the unreliability of language. The possessed Charles Wallace tries to rationally convince Meg and Calvin that they need to conform to Camazotz. While the argument seems reasonable and is coming from someone who looks like a trusted person (Charles Wallace), it is crucial that the characters remember that there is a truth that this version of Charles Wallace is obscuring. They cannot listen to his words no matter how compelling they seem.

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The Man with the Red Eyes Character Timeline in A Wrinkle in Time

The timeline below shows where the character The Man with the Red Eyes appears in A Wrinkle in Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Nonconformity Theme Icon
...begin walking through that, and find themselves after a long while in front of a man with red eyes in a chair on a platform. (full context)
Language and Knowing Theme Icon
...to feel something trying to take over his mind, but he is able to resist. The man with red eyes is able to communicate with them without opening his mouth: the children simply hear a... (full context)
Nonconformity Theme Icon
Language and Knowing Theme Icon
The man with red eyes seems to have been expecting Meg and Charles, but not Calvin (who is apparently an... (full context)
The Value of Love Theme Icon
The man with red eyes seems to be most focused on Charles Wallace, and he invites Charles to mentally probe... (full context)
Deceptive Appearances Theme Icon
...Charles must be permitted to complete this in order to advance to the next level, the man with red eyes has a synthetic turkey dinner brought out, which tastes delicious to Meg and Calvin but... (full context)
Chapter 8
Deceptive Appearances Theme Icon
When Meg demands of the man with the red eyes what has happened to the real Charles Wallace, the man innocently protests that he's right... (full context)
Language and Knowing Theme Icon
The man with red eyes asks Charles to bring Meg and Calvin to Mr. Murry, and strangely, Charles now knows... (full context)