A Wrinkle in Time


Madeleine L'Engle

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on A Wrinkle in Time makes teaching easy.

The Black Thing Symbol Analysis

The Black Thing Symbol Icon
The antagonist of A Wrinkle in Time is the Black Thing (otherwise called the Darkness or the shadow or, in its incarnation on Camazotz, IT). The Black Thing represents Evil at work in the universe: it has taken over Camazotz entirely, which is referred to as a dark planet, and Earth is currently half taken over and looks like it is covered in a "smoky haze" from afar. Tessering through the Black Thing is also extremely painful. Through the Black Thing the novel shows how evil is hard to pin down or describe (the Black Thing is rather a vague description, after all), but one knows it when one sees it, as when the children see it partly blanketing their own world.

The Black Thing Quotes in A Wrinkle in Time

The A Wrinkle in Time quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Black Thing. 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
Chapter 4 Quotes

It was a shadow, nothing but a shadow. It was not even as tangible as a cloud. Was it cast by something? Or was it a Thing in itself?...What could there be about a shadow that was terrible that she knew that there had never been before or ever would be again, anything that would chill her with a fear that was beyond shuddering, beyond crying or screaming, beyond the possibility of comfort?

Related Characters: Meg Murry (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Black Thing
Page Number: 81-82
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

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."

Related Characters: Mrs. Which (speaker), The Happy Medium (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Black Thing
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire A Wrinkle in Time LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Wrinkle in Time PDF

The Black Thing Symbol Timeline in A Wrinkle in Time

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Black Thing appears in A Wrinkle in Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Deceptive Appearances Theme Icon
Language and Knowing Theme Icon
...dark, terrifying shadow. When they return to the ground, Meg asks Mrs. Which if that Black Thing is what her father is fighting. (full context)
Chapter 5
Nonconformity Theme Icon
Deceptive Appearances Theme Icon
...have a "smoky haze" over it. This, as the children can guess, is the same Black Thing they saw covering the stars earlier. (full context)
Chapter 6
Christian References Theme Icon
...Whatsit did: she was once a star, and gave her life in the battle against the Black Thing , and is a star no longer. All the children look at Mrs. Whatsit with... (full context)
The Value of Love Theme Icon
...children. As sad as this sight is, Meg is only inspired even more to fight the Black Thing and rescue her father. (full context)
Chapter 7
Language and Knowing Theme Icon
...kind and gentle voice in their brains, though Meg senses with fear the presence of the Black Thing in him. The man's eyes have a strange red glow, and there's a light above... (full context)
Chapter 11
Deceptive Appearances Theme Icon
...to take Meg to heal her, since they reveal that they are also fighters against the Black Thing . They reveal that it is, in fact, tessering through the Black Thing that has... (full context)
Language and Knowing Theme Icon
Christian References Theme Icon
...planet Ixchel, which is in the same solar system as Camazotz, but which fights against the Black Thing . Aunt Beast then takes Meg to an open hall, where Calvin and Mr. Murry... (full context)