Study Guide

A Wrinkle in Time Wisdom and Knowledge

By Madeleine L'Engle

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Wisdom and Knowledge

Knowledge is power, or so they say – but in A Wrinkle in Time, not knowing, or at least being aware that you don't know, is even more powerful. The real danger is thinking that you know more than you do. In the many worlds of this novel, there's much more out there in the universe than the average human brain is even able to comprehend – so recognizing one's limitations is the first step to being able to be at least indirectly aware of all the splendors out there beyond one's grasp. And what would the universe be without some mystery in it?

Questions About Wisdom and Knowledge

  1. Why do the kids list great thinkers as those who have fought against the Black Thing? How might the pursuit of knowledge counteract evil?
  2. Several times in the novel, characters admit to not knowing things. How are these moments significant? Where does the novel draw limits on knowledge, and to what effect?
  3. What roles do the non-human characters play in the novel's portrayal of knowledge? How do these characters expand or alter the idea of what it means to know something? What effect do these characters have on the development of the theme of knowledge in the novel?

Chew on This

By focusing as much on the unknown as the known, the novel portrays the search for knowledge less as active conquest and more as a passive act of wonder, suggesting that knowledge is produced by being receptive to one's surroundings rather than by seeking to dominate them.

By having Meg be brilliant and yet be a failure as a student, the novel suggests that knowledge comes from within rather than from education.

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