A Wrinkle in Time Chapter 8 Summary

Instructor: Dori Starnes

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

Do you think it is important to be an individual or to be just like everyone else? In Chapter 8 of 'A Wrinkle in Time,' Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin learn just how far Camazotz will go to preserve conformity.


Meg Murry, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe are on a mission to rescue the long-absent Mr. Murry from the evil that threatens to consume the entire Universe, the Black Thing. Their journey, with the assistance of three women who were once stars, the Mrs. W's, has led them to the planet of Camazotz, which has been taken over by the Black Thing.

On Camazotz, the three travelers have entered the CENTRAL Central Intelligence, or CCI. There, they met the Man with the Red Eyes, who instantly is able to infiltrate the minds of Meg and Calvin. Charles Wallace proves more of a challenge, but when the Man with the Red Eyes, who works for IT and seems like the Black Thing in human form, offers to tell them where Mr. Murry is, Charles Wallace agrees to let the man into his mind. Meg is horrified that her brother has been swallowed up by the evil.

What's Become of Charles Wallace

Charles Wallace, who is still eating the turkey dinner, looks the same to Meg and Calvin, except that his eyes have gone flat blue, with no visible pupils. Charles Wallace tells the others that they should trust the Man with the Red Eyes. Meg and Calvin grab his hands, but he pushes them away with way more strength than a five-year-old should have. Charles Wallace tells the others that the man is their father's friend, but Meg doesn't believe it.

Charles Wallace tells Meg that she should relax and become part of Camazotz. Calvin, realizing that although it is Charles Wallace that is speaking the words, it is not Charles Wallace actually thinking the words, tells the Man with the Red Eyes to stop talking through Charles Wallace, and then asks the man who he is. The man responds that he is the Prime Coordinator, but doesn't explain. He then tells Meg and Calvin that Charles Wallace will lead them to Mr. Murry.

They set off. Meg has an impulse to reach out to Calvin for comfort, but decides that she'd be better off relying on herself. Meg tells Calvin that he should use his gift from the Mrs. W's, communication, to try to get through to Charles Wallace, who is inside the shell the Prime Coordinator/IT has made of him. Calvin tries, but he is only able to anger whatever is controlling the boy. As they walk, Charles Wallace (still speaking with the voice of the Prime Controller) tells them more about the planet of Camazotz.

Charles Wallace leads them down a long hallway.
Charles Wallace leads them down a long hallway.

The Truth about Camazotz

In Camazotz there is no illness (but only because people who show any signs of being sick are executed), no murder (but only because CCI, through IT, controls the way people think and act), no wars and no accidents. Everyone shares IT's mind. Meg interrupts to ask him what IT is. Charles Wallace says IT is the boss.

Charles Wallace then tells them that what makes people suffer is their differences, but because everyone on Camazotz is exactly the same, everyone is always happy and no one ever suffers or is sad. Meg doesn't buy this. She is different from everyone else, and although it does make her unhappy, she sure wouldn't want to be just like everyone else. Charles Wallace thinks this is silly. Meg replies that no one on Camazotz could ever really be happy because you need to be sad sometimes to be happy. Calvin thinks that life on Camazotz is unbearable, the very definition of evil.

Through the wall, they see the same boy from earlier, bouncing his ball
Through the wall, they see the same boy from earlier, bouncing his ball.

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