Good vs. Evil
In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which take Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace to the planet Uriel. There, as they see The Dark Thing, a shadow that is creeping over the cosmos, the children begin to understand the age-old struggle between the forces of good and evil. Have students make two columns on a large sheet of paper; one column should be labeled "good," and the other "evil." Beginning with Love and Hate, one in each column, ask students to list other characteristics of these forces.
In each of the novels, members of the Murry family learn important lessons when they encounter evil forces. Ask students to identify the conflict in each novel and discuss the overall theme of good vs. evil. How are these conflicts resolved? What does each Murry child learn about the power of love?
In A Wind in the Door, Charles Wallace is tormented by his classmates. Meg says, "It's not right in the United States of America that a little kid shouldn't be safe in school" (p. 47). Engage the class in a discussion about the safety issues facing public schools today, for example bullying, weapons, gangs, etc. How are these issues considered "evil" forces?
Courage and Honor
In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg experiences various types of love throughout her adventure. When she returns to Camazotz for Charles Wallace, she learns that love can enable her to be brave in the face of danger. It provides her with the strength that she needs to overcome evil. Ask students to trace the development of Meg's understanding of the power of love and discuss or write about it in an essay format.
In some ways, Charles Wallace might be considered the most courageous Murry. Encourage students to compare and contrast his courageous journey in A Wind in the Door to his adventures in A Swiftly Tilting Planet.
The Murry twins, Sandy and Dennys, take their first time-travel adventure in Many Waters. As the "practical" members of the family, they are very frightened throughout most of their trip. Ask students to discuss whether it takes courage to be "practical" and "ordinary" in a family like the Murrys. How might being "practical" and "ordinary" cause anyone to be frightened upon entering a new experience? Do the twins become more courageous by the end of the novel?
Dealing with Giftedness
Charles Wallace realizes that he is different. While he is intellectually gifted, he lacks the physical ability to do things like the other boys in his class. Ask students to brainstorm characteristics of an intellectually gifted child. Make a chart for each of the Murry children and Calvin O'Keefe and cite evidence from the novels that indicates that each child might be considered gifted.
Family and Relationships
Have students study the Murry-O'Keefe family tree which can be found in the back of any of the 35th anniversary commemorative editions. Ask each student to select one person from the tree and design a page about that person's life and adventures to be included in a Murry-O'Keefe family scrapbook. Compile the pages and bind it.
A WRINKLE IN TIME
- A Wrinkle In Time is very much a novel about good vs. evil. Who in the book represents good? Who represents evil?
- How does Meg feel about her father and his work?
- Imagine living in a community that mistrusts and resents you. What is it like for the Murrys to live in a community that doesn't understand them?
- How is Charles Wallace like Meg? How is he different?
- How would you describe tesseracting? Would you want to do it?
- What are Meg's faults? How do they help her in the end?
- Meg experiences various types of love throughout her adventure. How does her understanding of love develop over the course of the novel?
- Who is the most courageous character?
- Would you define this story as fantasy or science fiction? What are the differences between these two genres?
- If you had the opportunity to time travel, would you? If you could chose the time, what time period would you travel to? The past? The future?
- Would you recommend this book to others?
- In Chapter 11, Senex says, "'It is only when we are fully rooted that we are really able to move."' (pg. 190) What does the author mean by this, and how might it apply to your life?
- What clue does the author give at the end of the book to indicate that Proginoskes is really all right despite having Xed himself?
- Why is it better to X oneself than to be Xed by the Echthroi? What is the difference?
- Despite the fact that grown-ups have a harder time kything and may be slower at it than children, Calvin believes adults are able to go deeper than a child can once they get the hang of it. What does he mean by this? Can you give two examples from the story in which Mr. Jenkins proves that Calvin is right about this?