Study Guide

A Wrinkle in Time Chapter 9

By Madeleine L'Engle

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Chapter 9


  • Meg rushes towards the room, but is painfully bounced back like a bird running into a window.
  • Chucky laughs at her, and that brings her back to her sense. She's angry because the real Charles Wallace would never be so cruel.
  • Meg looks at her father, who is older and unkempt as a shipwrecked pirate, but it seems he cannot see her.
  • Meg tries to tackle Chucky again to bring him back to his senses, but he gut-punches her before she can reach him.
  • Chucky tells Meg that the only way she can save her father is to submit to IT, as he has done.
  • Meanwhile Calvin is again trying to communicate with the real Charles Wallace, reciting under his breath the bit of Shakespeare Mrs. Who had quoted to him earlier.
  • Chucky is thrown for a moment, but the real Charles Wallace doesn't come back.
  • Meg tells Calvin to try to get through to Mr. Murry, who seems like Ariel (a character from Shakespeare's Tempest) to be imprisoned in a pine tree, but Calvin doesn't think it will work.
  • Meg puts on Mrs. Who's glasses. Chucky tries to stop her, but she gets away and flings herself into the room and through the column, into her father's arms.
  • Meg has been waiting for this moment for years, and she thinks everything will now be all right.
  • Meg realizes that her father can't see anything, so she gives him Mrs. Who's glasses, which do the trick.
  • Wearing the glasses, Mr. Murry is able to get out of the column, but he quickly returns to get Meg out too – as she never for a moment doubted he would.
  • Chucky tells them that IT is seriously displeased by this turn of events.
  • Meg tries to explain to her dad that this is Chucky, not the real Charles Wallace, but doesn't think her father really understands.
  • Mr. Murry tries to assert fatherly authority over Chucky, but the kid is having none of it.
  • They go back into the corridor, where poor Calvin has been waiting for them.
  • Meg is disappointed: she thought finding her father would make everything all right, but it hasn't.
  • Chucky leads them out of the building and into another one, the home of IT.
  • Meg nearly passes out when they enter the building, which is pulsing. Her heart and lungs must obey the pulsing or they won't work at all.
  • Eventually the red clears from her eyes and she sees something on a dais or table in the middle of the room: it's a giant brain.
  • Mr. Murry shouts to Calvin not to give in, and Meg realizes that there's something about this room that means, even though it's silent, they must shout to be heard.
  • As Meg feels herself weakening, she remembers that Mrs. Whatsit told her to rely on her faults.
  • First she tries to breathe outside the rhythm, but she's not strong enough to do that.
  • Next she tries Calvin's trick of reciting some nursery rhymes, but their even rhythm just falls into the same rhythm as IT's pulsing.
  • She then tries the opening of the Declaration of Independence, which works a bit better.
  • Chucky picks up her words and says that Camazotz has complete equality, with everyone exactly alike.
  • Meg has a flash of insight, which she holds on to: "like and equal are two entirely different things" (9.143).
  • Meg thinks about taking a scalpel to the brain, and IT replies directly in her mind that killing it would take out Charles Wallace as well.
  • Meg wonders if everyone on Camazotz would die along with IT.
  • Again Meg feels herself succumbing to the red fog, and her father calls out to her to recite the periodic table of elements, which they had studied together before he left.
  • She begins, but the names are again too rhythmical; instead, with her father's prompting, she starts going through square roots.
  • Even math can't keep Meg's resistance up, and Calvin calls out to Mr. Murry to tesser.
  • He grabs Meg and does so, and it's a much more painful experience than it was with Mrs. Whatsit, causing Meg to pass out.

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