A Wrinkle in Time


Madeleine L'Engle

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A Wrinkle in Time: Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

As Meg slowly regains consciousness, she feels like her whole body is one huge chunk of ice. She can't see, she can't feel, and she can just barely hear her father explaining to Calvin, as the two of them try to revive her, how he ended up on Camazotz. It turns out it was never his intention to tesser to Camazotz—along with some other scientists he was trying to tesser to Mars, but he now sees that humans know barely anything about the tesseract. He adds that he was about to lose hope and give in to IT when the children rescued him.
Moving through the Black Thing eliminates sensation in Meg, her ability to interact with and feel the beauty of the world. Mr. Murry's comments about the tesseract again emphasize the limits of knowledge, and the dangers of trying to assert control over that which isn't known or can't be known.
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Meg eventually regains her vision and her speech, and she sees that they are on a dull gray plain bordered by dull gray trees, and that Charles Wallace isn't with them. She instantly becomes very upset with her father for leaving her brother. She accuses him of not loving Charles and of being an incompetent father, even though Calvin and her father try to explain to her that if they'd tried to rip Charles from the clutches of IT by tessering with him, it might have destroyed his mind. Her main disappointment is in her father: she was so sure once they found him that everything would be all right, that he would save them all. He responds that he is only a fallible man, and that "all things work together for the good to them that love God". Meg is not consoled.
Meg's love for Charles Wallace is fierce and that they failed to save Charles fills her with rage. But she aims this anger at others, blaming them, and in the process revealing how simplistic her ideas still are. She wants to just save Charles; but her method for saving him would have killed him. It's not so simple. Meg's anger also reveals in full her childish conception of her father—a conception many children share—that he is some kind of savior or super-being who can just make things right. His failure to do so devastates her. His response admits the truth: that he is just a normal man. Yet at the same time his quote (from St. Paul's letter to the Romans) suggests the Christian idea at love of God—whatever God may be—can create a kind of greater-than-man force that works for goodness. Meg is not ready to hear it.
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Suddenly, three creatures emerge from the trees and approach them. They are tall, walk upright, have four arms, and tentacles in the place of fingers, ears, and hair; Meg is utterly revolted by their appearance. Calvin begins to introduce themselves and explain their situation, when one of them touches Meg, which somehow eases her pain tremendously (though she still hurts very much and feels frozen). The creature then picks her up.
Meg's disgusted response to the beasts, which then reduce her terrible pain, against suggests that appearances are deceiving. Actions, caring, love are what define goodness.
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