Calvin O'Keefe in A Wrinkle in Time

Instructor: Kelly Beaty

Kelly has taught fifth grade language arts and adult ESL. She has a master's degree in education and a graduate certificate in TESOL.

In 'A Wrinkle in Time,' Charles Wallace and Meg Murry embark on a journey through time and space to rescue their father. Calvin O'Keefe joins them on their quest. This lesson will focus on the character Calvin O'Keefe.

A Man of Many Hats

Have you ever felt like a person living different lives, each life bringing out different aspects of your personality? Well, this pretty much describes the life of Calvin O'Keefe in A Wrinkle in Time. You might say he wears a different hat at home, at school, and when he is with the Murry family.

On the surface, he is a tall, thin teenage boy with freckles and blue eyes. Here we will discuss the different roles Calvin plays on a deeper level.

The Family Hat


Calvin O'Keefe is the third child in a family with 11 children. The word neglected accurately describes his life at home. His family does not have a lot of money and cares little about personal appearance. According to Calvin, they care even less about him.

When Calvin first enters the story, he is wearing worn-out corduroy pants that are way too short. He tells Meg and Charles Wallace that staying out late is no big deal at his house; his mother, in fact, would likely not even notice whether or not he comes home. The only real problem with staying out late is that he might end up locked out of his house- something that has happened before.

He pretty much sums up his feelings about living in his household when he tells Meg, 'You don't know how lucky you are to be loved.'

The School Hat


At school, Calvin is a well-liked, athletic boy. He plays basketball and makes good grades in his classes. Even though he and Meg attend the same school, their paths do not cross very often. She is younger and, unlike Calvin, is not a good student.

Calvin knows very little about the Murry family, and what he does know comes from rumors he has heard at school. This is evident in the rude comments he makes when he first encounters Meg and Charles Wallace.

He says that Charles Wallace is 'supposed to be the moron' and Meg is 'supposed to be dumb in school.' It only takes a little bit of time before Calvin realizes these rumors are in no way accurate.

Insulting their intelligence does not prove to be offensive to Meg and Charles Wallace. When Calvin ask about their father running off with another woman (another rumor going around the school and community), Meg quickly comes to Dr. Murry's defense. It is clear that Calvin O'Keefe has a lot to learn about the Murry family.

The Murry Hat


Charles Wallace is intent on figuring out just what kind of person Calvin is before inviting him into the Murry's world. Meg is a bit intimidated by this popular upperclassman from her school, especially since she herself is awkward and unpopular. After the initial awkwardness of the children's first meeting, Calvin quickly becomes one of the gang.

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