Study Guide

A Wrinkle in Time Chapter 2

By Madeleine L'Engle

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Chapter 2

Mrs. Who

  • Meg wakes up the next morning wondering if Mrs. Whatsit was all a dream, but her mother reminds her at breakfast that no, Mrs. Whatsit really did show up last night.
  • Mrs. Murry tells Meg that she and Meg's father used to have a joke about a tesseract, which is why Mrs. Whatsit's mentioning it freaked her out.
  • Sandy and Dennys, the twins, say that Mrs. Murry should have woken them up, since they're the only ones in the family with any sense.
  • Meg gets a little bitter about this, and Sandy tells her to lighten up and find a happy medium.
  • At school, Meg's sleepiness from being up late last night gets in the way of her remembering important things like the imports and exports of Nicaragua. She ends up storming out of class in a huff.
  • Meg ends up in the principal's office. The principal tries to suggest that Meg's father, who we find out is a physicist and hasn't been heard from in ages, is not going to come home, but Meg is having none of it.
  • Meg comes home to find Charles Wallace waiting for her with plans to take her to see Mrs. Whatsit.
  • Meg, Charles Wallace, and Fortinbras (their dog) go off into the woods. Charles Wallace explains that he wants to warn the women not to be so careless as they were about the sheets, and to beware of people poking around their cabin.
  • While they're walking Charles Wallace takes Meg's hand, and Meg feels a little better that at least somebody loves her.
  • Charles Wallace tells Meg that he can't read her mind exactly, but that there's a kind of unspoken language he can understand by which she unconsciously tells him things.
  • Fortinbras starts barking, and Charles Wallace runs to see who's there.
  • It's Calvin O'Keefe, a tall, poorly-dressed, redheaded boy, whom Meg knows from school.
  • Charles Wallace grills Calvin about who he is and why he's there. Up until this point Calvin had joined in the town's opinion that the little Murray boy was an idiot.
  • Calvin explains that in his family of eleven kids he's a "sport." Charles Wallace says he's a "sport" too, and explains this is term from biology to mean displaying traits that are hidden in the parents but come out in the offspring.
  • Calvin explains why he's out in the woods: he had a compulsion to come there, and it's a feeling he gets rarely but always obeys when he does feel it.
  • Charles Wallace says that Calvin better come home with them for dinner, and explains that his mother's all right, but "not one of us" (2.125), and that Meg's "not really one thing or the other" (2.127).
  • The trio (plus the dog) arrives at the Whatsit Manor, which has all the trappings of a haunted house. Charles Wallace implies that the current occupants are putting on a show on purpose.
  • Calvin takes Meg's arm and Fort stands protectively by her. She feels better that they're concerned about her.
  • They go inside, and notice that there's a pot, one might even say a cauldron, of something bubbling over a fire – all the more oddly because outside there was no smoke coming from the chimney.
  • Another woman, not Mrs. Whatsit, is there. She's a plump woman with giant glasses who soon reveals her habit of quoting lines in other languages and giving translations.
  • In between quotes, the woman explains why they stole the sheets: so they could fake ghosts if they had to frighten anyone away from the house.
  • Charles Wallace asks the woman, whom he addresses as Mrs. Who, if she knows Calvin. Mrs. Who replies that Calvin's not her idea but "he's a good one" (2.143).
  • Mrs. Who says that their father, Mr. Murry, needs their help. Then she shoos them out of the house.
  • Meg is confused. Charles Wallace admits he is too, but trusts in Fortinbras's good judgment, and the dog wasn't at all put off by Mrs. Who.
  • Calvin says he has a weird feeling that by going to the Murry's house for dinner he's going home.

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