About the Book

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

Themes and Analysis

A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ has a range of core themes all of which make the book a timeless piece of American classic children’s literature.

Top themes from the book are extrapolable from the broader themes of genuine and sincere love and acceptance, good versus evil, and psychological liberty versus mind control, just to mention a few. In this article, the most frontal themes relevant to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time’ will be analyzed.

A Wrinkle in Time Themes 

The Superseding Power of Love

Love plays a frontal role in the entirety of Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ Perhaps where this instrument reaches its peak is seen in the final third of the book, where it is used to defeat the all-powerful IT of Camazotz, who can’t understand the language of love, resulting in Meg saving her brother Charles Wallace. But before that, love is also what drives Meg into such a tumultuous journey to save her father.

Good versus Evil

The battle between good and evil has to be the most clear-cut and pronounced of the themes, and the basis that L’Engle built her book around. A certain evil called The Dark Thing is scanning through the solar system, slowly taking over the planets – including Earth, impacting humanity in the form of wars and poverty, and other forms of suffering. With IT being the leader of the dark, evil force and dwelling on a planet called Camazotz, Meg and her team step up as the good guys to combat The Dark Thing and IT using love as their greatest weapon.

Appearance versus Reality

Appearance and reality are often two concepts that can sometimes be misleading, and such is the case in L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ The heroes of the book seem to appear as misfits and losers in their own society but in reality, are actually champions and conquistadors of perhaps humanity’s greatest battle yet. 

Key Moments in A Wrinkle in Time 

  1. 13-year-old Meg Murry can’t fit in at school and hates her life because she misses her father Mr Murry who hasn’t returned home in months. 
  2. One stormy, scary night, unable to sleep, Meg joins her mother and siblings in the living room.
  3. A strange visitor (Mrs Whatsit) appears in their living room to warn Meg’s mother Mrs Murry about the secret of the “tesseract.” 
  4. Meg and her little brother Charles Wallace meet Calvin O’Keefe on their way to Mrs. Whatsit’s house to learn more about the Tesseract and how they can save their missing father.
  5. The trio comes home to Mrs. Murry and have dinner as they couldn’t find Mrs. Whatsit but meet her two other friends Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. 
  6. That night, the three women meet with the kids near the Murry’s house, and they all tesser to Camazotz, a dark planet filled with evil and sinister realities. 
  7. On this planet, Mr. Murry is locked in a cell and can’t get out because a very powerful brainlike entity called IT controls the mind of all the inhabitants (minions) on the planet. 
  8. Too powerful, the fellowship regrouped on another planet near Orion to discuss the possible ways to defeat IT. 
  9. On Orion, The Happy Medium searches through a pile of bleak possible realities to show them perhaps the only brighter side to it, giving them tips on how to deal with IT and The Dark Thing.
  10. Meg, Charles, and Calvin reenter Camazotz and saves Mr. Murry, but Charles’ mind is trapped by IT as the rest escape to another planet.
  11. Aunt Beast treats Meg about her injuries sustained while being tessered out of planet Camazotz.
  12. The fellowship regroups again to discuss how to save Charles, and a piece of new knowledge is shared that love is the only virtue powerful enough to defeat IT. 
  13. Mrs. Which tessers Meg back to Camazotz where she saves Charles from the grasp of IT – returning home to join the others.

Style and Tone 

The story of ‘A Wrinkle in Time is told in the third person perspective, and while the narration is tailored to the struggles of a certain 13-year-old Meg Murry, there appears to be an unnamed primary narrator who harmonizes the whole story in a clearer, broader perspective. 

The book is quite straightforward, and readers are quickly thrown into the thick of the action – as they instantly understand that the book’s heroine Meg Murry is a smart but troubled kid who is banned by her inability to connect with her teachers and classmates, and then there is the bigger problem of missing her father who goes MIA over the last year. 

L’Engle’s use of the English language for ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is careful so that the book is easy to comprehend by all readers – especially for young readers for which it was written in the first place. 

In terms of the tone for ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ the author Madeleine L’Engle invokes a general feeling of sympathy, understanding, and solicitude in the mind of the reader, and this is obvious because as the author tells the story through Meg’s eyes, Meg’s actions are not marked out for criticism but instead are met with support, empathy, and reasonable expectations as to why she does what she does throughout the book.

Figurative Languages

Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ masterpiece is flooded with figurative expressions, and this is unsurprising given the book’s scope, which includes real-world life and the struggle of a teenager – and even going beyond that to explore fantastic characters and scenes. 

The author knew that a book made for young people but with such complicated storylines as ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ must be eased up and made more interesting through the use of figurative expressions. Among the most popular literary languages used in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ include simile, personification, imagery, allusion, and verbal irony among others.

Analysis of Symbols in A Wrinkle in Time 


The tesseract in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is employed by the author as a motif for freedom and liberty. It is one of the most powerful instruments in the book and allows its possessors to travel through space and time and across planets. 

The Dark Thing

Also known as The Black Thing, this in its physical sense includes the residue of darkness gleaned from the corners of the universe and stored in one planet – Camazotz. The Dark Thing is a symbol of evil and wickedness at its heights – with its end purpose being to eventually drown the universe and all the planets, stars, and galaxies in it. 


It is synonymous with the controller of evil, the devil himself. Described as a giant, smelly brain-like entity, IT feasts on the goodness, creativity, and kindness in people’s minds and converts them to hate, hostility, and evil. 

Aunt Beast 

These creatures found in the fringes of Ixchel are ironically a force for good as they share the same hatred for the darkness on Camazotz as Meg and her team do. Even though they can not by themselves defeat the darkness, they would assist or aid anyone who would with the abilities that they have. Aunt Beats were very helpful to Meg’s cause when they heal her from emotional and physical injuries which she sustains from escaping the darkness in Camazotz.


What is the core theme in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeleine L’Engle? 

L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ teaches several important themes. However, the themes about the power of love and the triumph of good over evil appear to be the core of all the themes. 

How does Meg first accept the strange Mrs Whatsit?

Meg’s first meeting with Mrs. Whatsit is met with suspicion and mistrust – mostly because of the strange way that she looks. However, the fact that Charles Wallace already knows Mrs. Whatsit gives Meg a bit of a calm feeling. 

What figurative expressions are used in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’? 

Imagery: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is a thrilling book with very vivid descriptions for its characters and scenes, so deploying imagery style was paramount to L’Engle’s work in the book. Other notable themes found in the book include – allusion, metaphor, simile, and personification. 

What does IT represent in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’? 

IT represents evil or its force in ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ It is described as a big, gross brain-like entity which controls the mind of everyone on the planet Camazotz. 

Is Aunt Beast a friend or foe to the adventuring young trio?

Aunt Beast, though a called a beast, is in fact friendly and kind to the adventuring trio – Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin. She even treats an injured and batered Meg of her physical and emotional injuries. 

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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