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A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L'Engle

Time Theme

Time is a constant, right? Well, as A Wrinkle in Time suggests in its very title, that depends. And once you start wrinkling time, you'll need more than a steam iron to smooth it out again. In this novel, time is flexible: hang with the wrong crowd or check out the wrong planets, and it starts playing tricks on you. If you can't rely on time, what can you rely on? How can you make sense of a world in which time will go wonky on you without warning? A Wrinkle in Time asks these questions, and might even answer some of them...in time.

Questions About Time

  1. Is it important to understand (or to try to understand) the novel's complex temporal mechanics? Why or why not?
  2. To what extent is time subjective in the novel? Does it work differently for different characters? What effect does this portrayal of time have on the relationship between fantasy and reality in the novel?
  3. What is the significance of the tesseract in the novel? Why is it such a key concept? (You don't need to understand what a tesseract is to answer this question.)

Chew on This

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

By having the Murrys and Calvin return home only a moment after they left, the novel brackets off their fantastical adventures from prosaic reality.

The novel makes time and space almost arbitrary structures that can be manipulated fairly easy in order to emphasize the importance of emotional and intellectual connections that transcend temporal and spatial distance.

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