From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time


by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time Theme of Appearances

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but in the many worlds of A Wrinkle in Time, the book may be in an entirely different universe from its cover. The book-cover analogy is surprisingly apt – how can an artist ever capture the complexity of most books in a single image? A Wrinkle in Time suggests that our experience of the world is similar: we see flashes of something larger, but the thing itself always extends beyond our reach. Appearances may be deceiving, but at the same time they're all we have to work with.

Questions About Appearances

  1. When does appearance accurately reflect reality in the novel? When is it deceptive? How trustworthy are appearances in the novel? Based on events in the novel, is there any reliable way to tell when to trust to appearance, and when not to do so?
  2. How much does what someone looks like tell you about who they are?
  3. How does Meg's time among the Beasts affect her assumptions about how seeing relates to knowledge?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

While the initial appearances of Mrs. Whatsit and the Prime Coordinator appear to be deceiving, the specific language used to describe how they look gives strong clues as to their true natures, suggesting that appearance is not so deceptive after all.

The transformation of Charles Wallace suggests that the effect of a person's appearance is inextricably linked to what's inside them, so appearances are never entirely deceiving.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...