Here we go, time to discuss A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle! For many of you, this was a reread of a childhood book. For others, it was your first time delving into L’Engle’s worlds; but we’ve all heard the title over the years, and it’s been a bastion of Science Fiction since the sixties.
Science fiction has often been used as a way to explore “otherness” as a theme. Alien beings and distant worlds offer us a way to think about different cultures we are aware of, but don’t feel familiar or comfortable with. L’Engle explicitly uses this “other” to examine belief systems, morals, and family relationships, and the new movie seems to bring an aspect of race and culture that other adaptations didn’t include. Does this method work? Can you think of other books, movies, or TV shows that portray the “other” well?
In the five decades since publication, Wrinkle has been inspirational for authors, directors, and other artists. This great article from the Smithsonian talks about its influence. Leonard Marcus, author of the L’Engle biography Listening for Madeleine, says Wrinkle “set the stage for the reception of Harry Potter in this country.” Previously, he says, science fiction and fantasy were suitable for high-end British authors like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien in Britain but in the States were relegated to pulp magazines and drugstore paperbacks.
Has Wrinkle withstood the test of time? How would the story be different in this century?
Take on these questions and other topics below. Try to respond directly to others’ comments as you can, and refer to the numbered topics below to help people continue the conversations together.
Later today we’re going to start up some questions in our Facebook group, Cannonball Read Book Chat, and we’ll continue posting over there today and into tomorrow. Feel free to comment any time!
- Do you think A Wrinkle in Time portrays the “other” well? What other books, movies, or TV shows also attempt to do this?
- Has Wrinkle withstood the test of time? How would the story be different in this century?
And other questions:
- Meg experiences various types of love throughout her adventure. How does her understanding of love develop over the course of the novel?
- L’Engle also touches on feelings of alienation. Meg worries that her father has abandoned the family; Charles Wallace unsettles most people due to his odd personality and preternatural maturity; and Meg and Calvin are initially terrified by the citizens controlled by IT on Camazotz. How does this help create empathy for Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace on their quest?
- Meg is a flawed person. Does her character feel well-developed in this story? Do you admire Meg? Why or why not?
- Are you planning to see the movie?