“Don’t be afraid to be afraid”: Fear and Family in L’Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME

For fans of:

Space travel


C. S. Lewis

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Madeleine L’Engle’s now famous A Wrinkle in Time makes for one epic bedtime story that will capture the imaginations of both children and their parents. Originally published in 1962, the novel follows the Murry family of six: Mr. and Mrs. Murry and their four children—Meg, the oldest, and her three younger brothers, Charles Wallace and the two youngest, a set of twins. When the novel opens, we quickly learn that their town’s steamiest bit of hot gossip is the mysterious disappearance of the Murry patriarch, who only Mrs. Murry and the children seem to believe will return.

But the story really starts with the introduction of Calvin, a neighbor kid who helps Meg and Charles Wallace along their journey, and three shape-shifting beings from outer space: Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. When these aliens let slip that they not only know where to find Mr. Murry, but that it’s up to the kids to bring him back, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin are whisked away to the distant planet of Camazotz.

With its identical houses and its citizens living scripted lives, Camazotz serves as an indirect reference to Communism.


“Camazotz is ONE mind. It’s IT. And that’s why everybody’s so happy and efficient.”

But happiness is not as apparent as fear. There is also the dreaded IT, a disembodied voice and enigma for much of the novel, that serves as the main antagonist of the book, with the lovely nickname The Happy Sadist.

There is also incredibly clear Christian symbolism and several direct references to God and Biblical scriptures. There is even a chapter titled after the character it introduces, known as the Man with Red Eyes who is able to read minds and is all-knowing—perhaps a strange amalgamation of both God and the Devil.

“Don’t be afraid to be afraid.”

With beautiful descriptions of outer space and planets both familiar and new, L’Engle weaves a lovely tale of family, friendship, and conquering your fears. A Wrinkle in Time is the perfect blend of fantasy, science-fiction, and kid’s lit. And now, 56 years later, it’s getting the first big production movie set for theaters in early March 2018 and starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Oprah Winfrey, and Zach Galifianakis.

“Maybe if you aren’t unhappy sometimes you don’t know how to be happy.”

Keep scrolling for more reviews and, as always, happy reading 🙂

 – Brandie