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A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time


by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time Theme of Fate and Free Will

Fate and free will have been smacking each other upside the head for almost as long as humans have had heads to smack. A Wrinkle in Time plugs this battle into another ongoing debate: what makes people happy? The giant brain of Camazotz, IT, would have it that total submission to another's will is where true bliss lies, but the humans of the story aren't so sure. Does the freedom to make mistakes bring happiness or sadness? Is one possible without the other? Is a happy society different from a happy individual, and which is better to pursue?

Questions About Fate and Free Will

  1. To what extent are the characters' actions controlled by fate? How does fate operate in the novel? To what extent are the characters' actions the result of their free will? What makes a choice free?
  2. Is there any difference between the influence the Mrs. Ws exert on the children and IT's manipulation of them? Why or why not?
  3. Is free will the key to happiness in the novel? Why or why not?
  4. What does Mrs. Whatsit's discussion of the sonnet form have to do with the debate between fate and free will in the novel?

Chew on This

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

While the children seem to be making decisions, everything they do is set up by the Mrs. Ws so their choices are not truly free.

The novel's portrayal of Camazotz suggests that happiness is meaningless in the absence of free will.

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