Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Re-Reading Wrinkle (Chapter 1, Mrs. Whatsit)

I've been enjoying the ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time, so much so that the other day I picked up the book and began to read it again.

This would be my original copy, the one I first read when I was eleven. The binding broke years ago. It's in three pieces, but it's still my favorite copy to re-read!

Re-reading a favorite book is such a pleasure; I thought it would be fun to share that pleasure here. So for the next several weeks, I'll be blogging my reflections as I re-read the book, trying to capture just a handful of the things that make me love this story and enjoy it anew every time I return to it.

If you love Wrinkle too, I hope you'll enjoy the reflections and share some of your own. I'll be moving through chapter by chapter, using three "lenses" to help focus my reflections as I think through my response to the story both as a reader and a writer: Elements That Engage; Moments That Move Me; Lines I Love. Elements will focus especially on storycraft, plot and theme, moments on emotional resonances, and lines on language -- though of course those three strands will interweave. My goal is to post twice a week for six weeks.

Let's start at the very beginning. I hear it's a very good place to start!

Chapter 1: Mrs. Whatsit

Elements That Engage:
I love all the homey details of the Murrys' existence, especially when set against the wild storm raging outside, the mysterious absence of their father (which we quickly come to hear about), and the odd visitor who comes in the night to see them. Those homey details are everywhere in Meg's attic bedroom and especially the kitchen. The quilt, the hot chocolate steaming on the stove, Charles Wallace's footie pajamas, the geometric pattern on the curtains, the yellow chrysanthemums on the kitchen table, the sound of the furnace, late night snacks, cutting up pickles and tomatoes, the dog thumping his tail on the floor...even Meg's unruly adolescent hair.

Secondarily, I also find myself drawn to this opening presentation of Charles Wallace's character -- those little boy legs that dangle and don't yet reach the floor are in such juxtaposition with his quiet confidence that feels eerily grown-up. Remember, he's five, and yet he speaks calmly and clearly, he puts milk on the stove and knows how to make sandwiches by himself, he has that remarkable prescience and understanding of his mother and sister and even Mrs. W. It's Charles Wallace's presence that first marks this story as moving in a fantastical direction, pages before we see the crazy get-up of Mrs. W. or hear the word tesseract.

Moments That Move Me:
Mrs. Murry's tenderness with Meg as she talks with her about her trouble at school. And I laugh every time Mrs. Whatsit sprawls on the floor in her wet socks, tuna sandwich in hand, and sprains her dignity.

Lines I Love:
"Wild nights are my glory. I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course." (Mrs. Whatsit)


Edna said...

One of my all time favorite books as well. I'll be checking back in. I like it so much when Meg meets Calvin. Not to jump ahead. . . :-).

Don't know if you check comments from earlier posts, so this is a big unrelated, but I shared your post about grief with some people it really moved them. Thanks! I thought it was beautiful, but I have not experienced that particular grief, and they had, so. . . they were very touched. One friend then shared it on her Facebook page of her ministry making handkerchiefs for moms who have lost babies.

Beth said...

Edna, glad you're a Wrinkle fan. I'm not surprised! And jump ahead if you want to...I love it when Meg meets Calvin too. ;-)

And thank you for telling me about the comments on the grief post. I've been a bit under the weather and out of it this week. I'll go back and look and respond. I'm very glad the post is touching folks and being shared with others it might touch as well.

Blessings today!