If Meg thought comprehending her and Charles Wallace's differences was hard, understanding the people and planets of a universe she never knew existed outside Earth is even more difficult. The Mrs. W's communicate in ways of their own—Mrs. Who, for example, hasn't really mastered the human language, so she quotes often from great authors to get her point across. Indeed many of the characters—Meg, Mrs. Whatsit, Mr. Murry—incorporate Shakespeare, Scripture, and other famous works into their thoughts and words to best express their feelings.
But there is communication beyond the written and spoken word, which often fails (as seen best when Meg tries to explain light to animals that come from a sunless world). Meg can sometimes best tell Charles Wallace, Calvin, or her father that she loves them through a tender gesture or a warm embrace. Charles Wallace can somehow intuit the feelings of his mother, Meg, and Calvin without even being in the same room. Calvin's gift of communication, too, is intuitive and mental.
Yet just as Aunt Beast will never understand the human sense of sight, all three children learn through their journey that there are some things they can't understand, and they must come to terms with this. As a talented math student who uses shortcuts, Meg always wants an easy and quick final answer, but her experiences and the wise people in her life teach her that she can't always get it. When she reaches Camazotz, she finally realizes that an effortless understanding of the universe is not something one ought to want, because IT is bent on total understanding, total control, and this world of total understanding and control is evil and suffocating. Meg is able to defeat IT not through her own knowledge but through a love that is more profound than words.
Language and Knowing ThemeTracker
Language and Knowing Quotes in A Wrinkle in Time
How did Charles Wallace always know about her? How could he always tell? He never knew—or seemed to care—what Dennys or Sandy were thinking. It was his mother's mind, and Meg's that he probed with frightening accuracy.
"The tesseract—" Mrs. Murry whispered. "What did she mean? How could she have known?"
"…I'm a sport."
At that Charles Wallace grinned widely. "So ‘m I."
"I don't mean like in baseball," Calvin said.
"Neither do I."
"I mean like in biology," Calvin said suspiciously.
"A change in gene," Charles Wallace quoted, "resulting in the appearance in the offspring of a character which is not present in the parents but which is potentially transmissible to the its offspring."
"Lead on, moron," Calvin cried gaily. "I've never even seen your house, and I have the funniest feeling that for the first time in my life I'm going home!"
"But Charles Wallace doesn't look different from anybody else."
"No, Meg, but people are more than just the way they look. Charles Wallace's difference isn't physical. It's in essence."
"Should I change, too?" Mrs. Who asked. "Oh, but I've had fun in these clothes. But I'll have to admit Mrs. Whatsit is the best at it. Das Werk lobt den Meister. German. The work proves the craftsman. Shall I transform now, too?
"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..."
The Medium lost the delighted smile she had worn till then. "Oh, why must you make me look at unpleasant things when there are so many delightful ones to see?"
Again Mrs. Which's voice reverberated through the cave. "Therre will nno llonggerr bee sso many pplleasanntt thinggss too llookk att iff rressponssible ppeoplle ddo nnott ddoo ssomethingg abboutt thee unnppleasanntt oness."
"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."
From somewhere Mrs. Who's glasses glimmered and they heard her voice. "Calvin," she said, "a hint. For you a hint. Listen well:
…For that he was a spirit too delicate
To act their earthy and abhorr'd commands,
Refusing their grand hests, they did confine him
By help of their most potent ministers,
And in their most unmitigable rage,
Into a cloven pine; within which rift
Imprisoned, he didst painfully remain….
Shakespeare. The Tempest."
Breathing quickly with excitement, Calvin continued to pin Charles Wallace with his stare. "You're like Ariel in the cloven pine, Charles. And I can let you out. Look at me, Charles. Come back to us."
"You don't even know where we are!" she cried out at her father. "We'll never see Mother or the twins again! We don't know where earth is!...What are you going to do!" She did not realize that she was as much in the power of the Black Thing as Charles Wallace.
"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."
It was a music more tangible than form or sight…It seemed to travel with her, to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she, too, felt that the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only this melody was real.
"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!"
"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."