About the Book

Book Protagonist: Meg Murry
Publication Date: 1962
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Teen and Young Adult


A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L'Engle

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ follows a thrilling quest by child protagonist Meg Murry, her little brother of five years old Charles Wallace, and a kid from their neighbourhood - Calvin O’Keefe. The trio set out to rescue Mr Murry, a brilliant scientist who has been missing for several years.

Meg could never defeat her sadness and self loathe until she finds her father, who, she believes, is going to make everything right. And so these brave kids began their juvenile but courageous journey from their backyard. But what starts out as a casual search soon spirals into the most terrifying endeavor any of them had ever undertaken. This article will cover an abridged, spoiler-free summary as well as the full book summary of Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’

‘Spoiler Free’ A Wrinkle in Time Summary

A brilliant but headstrong 13-year-old by the name of Meg Murry is having a near-perfect moment with her family. Her only sadness seems to come from the fact that her father disappeared a few years back and hasn’t returned ever since. 

They say time heals all wounds, but the mark left by the disappearance of Meg’s father becomes fresher with time. Little Meg finds herself being plunged into despair and self-hate – and this extends to her school experiences, as she’s unable to fit in among her mates or teachers.

Meg grows worse and soon realizes that she may never get to be happy with herself and with the people around her until she finds her father. With her 5-year-old brother and a friend, she grabs the opportunity to look for her father one faithful day when a strange visitor came to their home, revealing the secret of the tesseract. However, the ensuing journey will turn out to be like none she has ever encountered.

A Wrinkle in Time Summary

Warning – This article contains important details and spoilers

The plot matures with a 13-year-old Meg Murry feeling less than happy with herself because she can’t seem to fit in at school among her peers, and her brilliance is left recognized by her teachers. Despite being blessed with an amazing family, with her being the eldest of four siblings, Meg still feels incomplete without her father, Mr. Murry, a famed scientist who went missing a year ago.

Meg knows finding her father is the one thing that can complete her happiness, and she never stops dreaming about it. A moment of chance comes one rainy night when a strange visitor by the name of Mrs. Whatsit enters her home and reveals to her mother Mrs. Murry, that such a thing as the tesseract does exist – proof that Meg’s father Mr. Murry, might still be alive and held captive somewhere.

Needing more clarity, Meg and Charles Wallace go looking for Mrs. Whatsit the next day but bump into Calvin O’Keefe, a kid in their neighborhood who also attends the same school as Meg. Charles’ intuition could tell he’s a good kid, so they allow him to follow them to Mrs. Whatsit’s house who unfortunately is not home. The three go home and have dinner together.

That night, with Charles fast asleep, Meg and Kelvin have a stroll around the neighborhood but suddenly see are accosted by Mrs. Whatsit, her friends Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, and Charles. The women transport (tesser) the kids to the planet where Mr Murry is held captive, but is also the place where the Evil, Dark Thing is gathering momentum to take over the universe. Mr. Murry is one of its first human captives.

The team then travels to a dull, nearly colorless planet called Orion, where they encounter The Happy Medium, which shows them how to defeat The Dark Thing. They also find out from here that nightly stars have the power to defeat the thing but must die in the process – as Mrs. Whatsit did in her previous life.

Without the women, the kids return to Camazotz to face the evil black thing and rescue Mr. Murry but not without a fierce battle from IT, a large disgusting brain that controls the darkness. They fight off manipulations from IT’s minions, but through the help of Charles’ intuitive ingenuity, they are able to find and rescue Mr. Murry however, at the expense of losing Charles’ sanity to IT – forcing Mr. Murry to quickly tesser away with the other kids into another planet to protect them. 

Meg, who is mad at her father for leaving Charles behind, sustains physical and emotional injuries in the process but is treated by aunt beasts, who are friendly creatures they encounter on the planet they escaped into. While they recoup, the three women come to them, and they discuss a new knowledge they had observed, and that being that love is the only weapon that can truly defeat The Dark Thing, IT, and its minions as they cannot read or understand it.

Meg is sent back to rescue her brother Charles with love and is tessered into Camazotz by Mrs. Which, one of the three women. She finally is able to circumvent the manipulations of IT to break the evil spell and save Charles just by merely looking into his eyes. Both tesser back to meet the team and then later tesser to earth to unite the Murry family.


How does ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ start?

A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeleine L’Engle begins with no short of suspense on a stormy, ominous night in Meg’s bedroom. Meg is introduced as a troubled teenager who, though is smart and intelligent, can’t seem to get along well in school and also suffers emotionally over her missing father. 

Does Meg get to see her missing father? 

Yes! Meg – and her team of youngsters – would eventually track and rescue her father from an alien prison on a faraway planet, but when that happens, she of forced to leave without her brother, Charles Wallace. 

Who betrayed Charles Wallace? 

It may seem like Mr. Murry betrays his son Charles Wallace by tessering out of Camazotz with Meg and Calvin alongside him when Charles is in trouble and needs help, but, in hindsight, Mr. Murry does that to save the kids so they could live to fight another day. 

Why is Charles Wallace so important?

Charles is a very special five years old boy who possesses the natural ability to be intuitive and read people’s minds; he is able to know or be acquainted with people before he even meets them in person. 

Does ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ have a good ending? 

The book ends in the most satisfying way possible with Meg having saved Charles, the children return to Earth with the help of the three Mrs to reunite with their family. 

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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