A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time Theme of Language and Communication
A Wrinkle in Time tallies up an array of languages that go beyond words: there's music, touch, and even direct brain-to-brain communication. There's also the language of words already written, recorded for later generations to access. Language makes connections across space and time as well as any tesseract, and has the power to bridge gaps and break through walls. A Wrinkle in Time reminds its readers that the simple joy of expressing one's thoughts and being understood by another person is a miraculous thing, and should be appreciated as such.
Questions About Language and Communication
- What is the significance of Mrs. Who's use of quotation?
- How does language relate to knowledge in the novel? How can you know something if you can't explain it in words? What makes for a good explanation?
- How do the different ways of speaking in the novel contribute to characterization? What does this suggest about the relationship between language and identity, between what you say and who you are?
- What significance does mind-reading have in the novel? Is this really communication, or something else?
Chew on This
In portraying important knowledge that can't be expressed in words, the novel suggests that knowing can be a matter of feeling rather than thinking, and that both modes are equally valid.
By contrasting Charles Wallace's mind reading with that of the Prime Coordinator, the novel suggests that communication is not about merely transferring information, but rather is about connection.