A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time Appearances Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"But Charles Wallace doesn't look different from anybody else."
"No, Meg, but people are more than just the way they look. Charles Wallace's difference isn't physical. It's in essence." (3.99-100)
You can't judge a book by its cover. The insistence on Charles Wallace's essential difference is never quite explained – and if it's not physical, not based in something material in his makeup that anyone could look at and try to understand, then where is it?
She contented herself with looking at Mrs. Whatsit. Even though she was used to Mrs. Whatsit's odd getup (and the very oddness of it was what made her seem so comforting), she realized with a fresh shock that it was not Mrs. Whatsit herself that she was seeing at all. The complete, the true Mrs. Whatsit, Meg realized, was beyond human understanding. What she saw was only the game Mrs. Whatsit was playing; it was an amusing and charming game, a game full of both laughter and comfort, but it was only the tiniest facet of all the things Mrs. Whatsit could be. (6.17)
This novel seems very invested in promoting a distrust of appearances – people and people-like beings are always turning out to be much more than they seem to be. What we think of as reality is actually just a collection of fragments and facets from the larger reality that we can never directly access because it's just too big for our tiny heads. The "could" in the last sentence is interesting – it suggests that "the complete, the true" exists in the realm of possibility, of things that might happen rather than things that have happened or are happening.
"Of course our food, being synthetic, is not superior to your messes of beans and bacon and so forth, but I assure you that it's far more nourishing, and though it has no taste of its own, a slight conditioning is all that is necessary to give you the illusion that you are eating a roast turkey dinner." (7.118)
This is Camazotz in a nutshell – it looks good, and may even be good for you, but it's all fake. Contrast this to the food on Aunt Beast's planet, which looks gross but tastes delicious, and brings Meg back to health.