A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time Fear Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Put your arms around my neck, Meg," Mr. Murry said. "Hold on to me tightly. Close your eyes and don't be afraid." He picked her up and she wrapped her long legs around his waist and clung to his neck. With Mrs. Who's spectacles on she had felt only a faint darkness and coldness as she moved through the column. Without the glasses she felt the same awful clamminess she had felt when they tessered through the outer darkness of Camazotz. Whatever the Black Thing was to which Camazotz had submitted, it was within as well as without the planet. For a moment it seemed that the chill darkness would tear her from her father's arms. She tried to scream, but within that icy horror no sound was possible. Her father's arms tightened about her, and she clung to his neck in a strangle hold, but she was no longer lost in panic. She knew that if her father could not get her through the wall he would stay with her rather than leave her; she knew that she was safe as long as she was in his arms. (9.62)
Meg seems very childlike at this moment, in her absolute trust that her father is going to make everything all right, and that there's nothing to be scared of so long as he is there. She also seems not to be thinking very clearly – she may be "safe" trapped in the column with her father, but that's hardly a good place to be.
She felt that she was beyond fear now. Charles Wallace was no longer Charles Wallace. Her father had been found but he had not made everything all right. Instead everything was worse than ever, and her adored father was bearded and thin and white and not omnipotent after all. No matter what happened next, things could be no more terrible or frightening than they already were.
Oh, couldn't they?
As she continued to step slowly forward, at last she realized what the Thing on the dais was.
IT was a brain.
A disembodied brain. An oversized brain, just enough larger than normal to be completely revolting and terrifying. A living brain. A brain that pulsed and quivered, that seized and commanded. No wonder the brain was called IT. IT was the most horrible, the most repellent thing she had ever seen, far more nauseating than anything she had ever imagined with her conscious mind, or that had ever tormented her in her most terrible nightmares.
But as she had felt she was beyond fear, so now she was beyond screaming. (9.120-125)
There seems to be a limit on fear – Meg has already reached her maximum quota for the time being, so each new horror can't add anything to her emotional level. How might Meg have reacted differently if she had gone straight from her home to IT, without passing Go or collecting Mrs. Who's glasses? How might we as readers have reacted differently if the story jumped straight from one world to the other without any stops in between?