A Wrinkle in Time Chapter 5 Summary

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  • 0:04 Background
  • 0:42 Explaining the Tesser
  • 1:51 Arriving on Another Planet
  • 2:37 The Not-So-Happy Medium
  • 3:32 The Black Thing
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

Meg and the others learn that Mr. Murry is on a planet that has fallen to the darkness, but not all is lost. For now, they are the newest warriors in a battle that includes the entire universe. This lesson will focus on the summary of Chapter 5 of ''A Wrinkle in Time.''


Meg Murry, her youngest brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe are currently standing in a meadow on the beautiful planet Uriel. They have traveled here from Earth via a tesseract, a wrinkle in time. Uriel is the first stop on their journey to find Meg's father, Mr. Murry.

The three women who have traveled with our heroes, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, have brought the children to Uriel so they can see what they are up against: a huge Black Thing, a shadow made of pure evil that blots out the stars. Horrified, Meg asks the women if this is what her father has been fighting.

Explaining the Tesser

In Chapter 5, Mrs. Which tells Meg that her father is behind the darkness, and it makes Meg break down in tears. Mrs. Whatsit wraps her wings around Meg and tells her that there is hope. Mrs. Which tells the children that they must go behind the shadow to get to Mr. Murry, and Mrs. Whatsit says they will tesser there.

Meg doesn't understand what a tesser is, so the others try to explain it to her. Mrs. Who starts out by holding her robe pulled taut between her two hands. Mrs. Whatsit tells Meg to imagine that a bug had to walk from one of Mrs. Who's hands to the other. It would take a long, long timeā€¦unless Mrs. Who folded the fabric and brought her hands together and the bug could go from one hand to the other without the fabric.

Meg's still a bit confused, so Charles Wallace attempts to clarify. He tells Meg that there are five dimensions. The first is a line, the second a square, the third a cube. These are the three dimensions we are all familiar with. But, according to the precocious and slightly creepy Charles Wallace, two more dimensions exist. The fourth dimension is time, and the fifth is a shortcut through all the others, or a tesseract.

Arriving on Another Planet

Calvin takes Meg's hand as they are about to tesser again. This time, the strange sense of nothingness is not as traumatic to Meg, as she is expecting it. At one point she feels like she's been flattened out, unable to take a breath, but it passes and they arrive on another planet.

Immediately, Mrs. Which apologizes to the children. They landed on a two-dimensional planet, and she forgot that humans couldn't survive on such a place. Now they are on a planet that has gray air and not much else. Fog surrounds them, and they can't see anything.

Meg wonders aloud if their mother will be worried about them, but Mrs. Whatsit (who has returned to her human form during the tesser) reassures her that they will actually arrive before they left, as the tesser went through time as well as space.

The Not-So-Happy Medium

Mrs. Whatsit leads the way. She tells them that they are going toward a cave that is the home of the Happy Medium. Mrs. Which tells Mrs. Whatsit that she talks too much, and just because she's young doesn't make it okay.

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