Study Guide

A Wrinkle in Time Chapter 3

By Madeleine L'Engle

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Chapter 3

Mrs. Which

  • Charles Wallace, Meg, Calvin, and Fortinbras walk back to the Murry place.
  • Calvin is in a very cheerful mood at making some new friends.
  • They arrive home to find Mrs. Murry working on an experiment in her lab while also cooking stew over a Bunsen burner.
  • Calvin calls his mother to let her know she won't be home to dinner, but talks to his brother instead.
  • Calvin tells Meg that she's very lucky to be loved – he loves his family, but they barely notice him.
  • Calvin and Meg look at a picture of Meg's father. Calvin says that Mr. Murry looks kind of like him, all tall and gangly and not handsome, but Meg says she thinks they're both handsome.
  • Calvin asks where dad is now, and Meg gets uncomfortable, but is saved by the stew when her mother interrupts them on her way to finish dinner.
  • Mrs. Murry tells Meg to finish her homework, and Calvin says he's got his own to work on – math.
  • Mrs. Murry suggests that Meg help Calvin with his homework; at first he pooh-poohs the idea, since he's several classes ahead of her, but Meg puts his assumptions to shame.
  • Mrs. Murry explains that Meg and her father used to play math games, so she knows a lot of shortcuts and doesn't do things the long way like her teachers want her to do.
  • Calvin quizzes Meg and finds that her impressive knowledge of math and science is matched by an equally impressive cluelessness about geography and English (and common sense).
  • Calvin again says how happy he is to finally be around people he can talk to.
  • After dinner Meg talks to her mom about her father, who Mrs. Murry really misses.
  • Mrs. Murry says that the weird things that have been happening lately must have something to do with her missing husband, and that she believes things always have an explanation even if no one understands what it is.
  • The conversation turns to Charles Wallace, who seems to understand more than the rest of them. Mrs. Murry says it's because he's "Different. New" (3.94).
  • Calvin returns from reading to Charles Wallace (the kid's choice for a bedtime story: Genesis from the Bible) and invites Meg out for a walk.
  • Calvin asks Meg about her father, and we learn that he's a physicist doing Top Secret government work, and that all the government will tell the Murrys is that he's on "a secret and dangerous mission" (3.164) with no way to communicate with them.
  • Calvin asks if Meg thinks the government doesn't know where he is either, and Meg starts crying. She says that's what she's afraid of.
  • Calvin wipes Meg's glasses, and she's off to weepyville at this show of tenderness.
  • Meg keeps saying that she hates herself and Calvin probably hates her too because she's such a moron, but Calvin reassures her that he does like her quite a lot, and aren't her eyes pretty without her glasses?
  • Charles Wallace chooses this moment to interrupt. He tells them that the moment has come for them to go, and he thinks they're going to find their father.
  • Mrs. Who suddenly appears next to Charles Wallace. Mrs. Whatsit soon joins them by scrambling over a fence, catching stray scarves on tree branches along the way.
  • Mrs. Who punctuates her rescue of her wayward colleague with a line from Dante.
  • Mrs. Who quotes another line about how older people know better. Mrs. Whatsit retorts that just because Mrs. Who is "a paltry few billion years –" (3.188) – but she never gets to finish that tantalizing sentence, because she's interrupted by Mrs. Which.
  • Mrs. Which ttallkkss llikke tthhiss, and says that she won't "matterrialize commpletely" as she finds it "verry ttirinngg" (3.191).

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