A Wrinkle in Time

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Christian References Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Nonconformity Theme Icon
The Value of Love Theme Icon
Deceptive Appearances Theme Icon
Language and Knowing Theme Icon
Christian References Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Wrinkle in Time, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Christian References Theme Icon

Though not an overtly Christian work (there are no priests, churches or religious ceremonies), there are many Scriptural quotations in A Wrinkle in Time. Christ is cited as one of the great warriors of light, next to the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Beethoven, and many different books of the Bible are quoted alongside of Shakespeare and Goethe and others. Underlying all of this is the author's belief that the core beliefs of Christianity are a powerful force for good in the fight against evil; however, she doesn't go much deeper than that, and uses those Scriptural quotations as a launch point for elaborating on broader themes.

Christian References ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Christian References appears in each chapter of A Wrinkle in Time. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Christian References Quotes in A Wrinkle in Time

Below you will find the important quotes in A Wrinkle in Time related to the theme of Christian References.
Chapter 4 Quotes

"Listen, then," Mrs. Whatsit said. The resonant voice rose and the words seemed to be all around them so that Meg felt that she could almost reach out and touch them: "Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein..."

Related Characters: Mrs. Whatsit (speaker)
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

This is one of the few moments of truly sublime beauty in the whole book. To see creatures like Mrs. Whatsit shown as truly good and joy-bringing entities cements Meg's understanding that her initial impression based on Mrs. Whatsit's appearance was completely wrong.

While the story is not explicitly Christian, it has common themes with Christianity. For one, characters are rewarded for respecting and embracing things that cannot be known or understood. Meg has to learn to be humble before that which is greater and more powerful than she; this is a very Christian journey. In addition, the supreme power of love is, perhaps, the most important theme of the New Testament. Since the most beautiful and joyful moment of the book is one that becomes explicitly Biblical, it is safe to say that the author is embracing the ideas of Christianity, even if she is not creating an explicitly religious story. 


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Chapter 5 Quotes

"Who have our fighters been?" Calvin asked.
"Oh, you must know them, dear," Mrs. Whatsit said.
Mrs. Who's spectacles shone out at them triumphantly, "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
"Jesus!" Charles Wallace said. "Why of course, Jesus!"
"Of course!" Mrs. Whatsit said. "Go on, Charles, love. There were others. All your great artists. They've been lights for us to see by."

Related Characters: Charles Wallace Murry (speaker), Calvin O'Keefe (speaker), Mrs. Whatsit (speaker), Mrs. Who (speaker)
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Mrs. Whatsit sheds some light on what the real forces for good in the world are. As expected, the people she names are all ones who have prioritized their individuality and brought their unique visions to the world. She names Jesus and a few artists/writers – these were all people who had the courage to have radical ideas. It's also important that each of these people grappled in their work with ideas that weren't quite comprehensible. This is what artists do, they try to make sense of the world through creating art rather than by trying to control the world or analyze it. In other words, artists tend not to have illusions of being in control of the world around them. As we've already seen, this book does not look favorably on those who are arrogant enough to believe that they understand everything and are therefore powerful. 

This section also clarifies the author's thoughts on the relevance of Christianity. While she certainly believes that Jesus is an exemplary force for good, she puts him alongside secular heroes like Shakespeare and Euclid. This shows that Christianity is, for this author, an important force in the world, but one that operates in conjunction with all different kinds of ideas. It is one way of capturing a positive way to live in the world, but not the only way.

Chapter 10 Quotes

"We were sent here for something. 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."

Related Characters: Mr. Murry (speaker)
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

This is one of the most explicit appeals to Christianity in the book. At this point, Meg, Calvin, and Mr. Murry have tessered away from Camazotz. They were forced to leave Charles Wallace behind, and this passage is Mr. Murry's response to Meg's misdirected fury. Mr. Murry does not instruct Meg to love him more or forgive his shortcomings, but rather to love God in general. This is reminiscent of L'Engle's statement that Meg, when she was furious with her father, was in the grip of The Black Thing.

For L'Engle, good/evil and love/hate are abstract forces with concrete implications. Being filled with love for God is, in practice, the same as loving the individual people in your life. In the book, being filled with love for God is also how you fight The Black Thing, which manifests in everyday life as meanness and bitterness. This chapter, in particular, illuminates L'Engle's idea of opposed cosmic forces for good and evil that individuals can choose between. Being loving to others, then, serves a higher purpose.

Chapter 11 Quotes

"Angels!" Calvin shouted suddenly from across the table. "Guardian angels!" There was a moment's silence, and he shouted again, his face tense with concentration, "Messengers! Messengers of God!"

Related Characters: Calvin O'Keefe (speaker), Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Meg is trying to explain to the beasts who the Mrs. W's are. Again, Meg's dependence on rationally describing their appearance leads her astray. For one, the beasts lack sight so this description is meaningless to them. More important, as L'Engle has repeatedly emphasized, appearance has nothing to do with essence, so a description focused on appearance is a poor representation of who somebody actually is.

Calvin – somebody whose strength has always been communication, and whose personal experiences have led him to understand the gulf between appearance and essence – has more success by describing the Mrs. W's as embodiments of good, or angels. It's important that Calvin uses the word "angels" to describe them, since the reference is explicitly Christian. While Christianity has hovered around the edges of the book, L'Engle has generally been careful to frame the moral conflict of the book in more general terms ("The Black Thing" rather than "satan," for example). Here, she is explicitly using a Christian term to describe fighters for good. It's unclear whether she means this as a metaphor or whether the Mrs. W's are literally angels, but it certainly makes it clear that Christianity is the underlying idea in the cosmology of the book.