Main Characters of A Wrinkle in Time

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

The popular science fiction novel ''A Wrinkle in Time'' has several main and secondary characters that add to the vividness of this book. This lesson lists these characters and describes their role in the plot. Take a look.

A Wrinkle in Time Overview

A Wrinkle in Time is a novel written by Madeleine L'Engle and published in 1963. The story is science fiction, a genre that combines fiction with scientific facts and imaginings that allows the author to create intriguing stories and characters. In this story, the main characters go on a journey to space to save a loved one and do battle with a super being. Think that sounds interesting? Wait until you hear about the tesseract.

In the science fiction genre, a tesseract means a bend or warp in space-time that makes instantaneous travel to distant worlds possible. The title of the book comes from the much more common word of 'wrinkle' and describes the same set of facts in a word most of us are more familiar with.

Who are the characters in this science fiction story? Let's take a look.

Main Characters

Like we talked about above, the story A Wrinkle in Time has a cast of complex characters that help make the story engaging. Let's take a closer look at some of the main characters:

Meg Murry

The protagonist, or person the story is mainly about, is Meg Murry - an intelligent adolescent girl with braces, glasses, and low self-esteem. Meg is definitely a character that many of us can relate to. She is smart enough that she can help her friend Calvin with his math homework, even though she is several years behind him in school. Although she's intelligent, she doesn't think she is, and part of the reason is that her intelligence isn't rewarded in school. For example, she's good at math but hates to write down all of the steps. Her teachers ignore the brilliant work she does in her head merely because she doesn't write most of it down.

We see Meg go on an adventure in space where she gets to call on some of her better qualities and show the reader what she's made of.

Charles Wallace Murry

Charles is Meg's younger brother and fellow oddball. He's five years old, and appears even less intelligent than Meg often feels. However, he also has his own strengths and quirks, one of which is often knowing what Meg is thinking before she does.

In the beginning of the story, Meg is having trouble sleeping and decides to go downstairs for cocoa. Charles Wallace is already there making it for her. These kinds of interactions lead Meg to think that Charles can read her mind. Charles accompanies Meg on the trip to space.

Calvin O'Keefe

Calvin is a few years older than Meg and is well-liked and popular at school. He and Charles Wallace seem to have a very good connection which endears him to Meg, as she is Charles' protective and loving older sister. Calvin is the third person on the space trip, along with Meg and Charles.

Secondary Characters in A Wrinkle in Time

Stories also have what we call secondary characters, those who play an important role in the story but aren't at center stage. Take a look at some from the story:

Mr. Murry

Sometimes in stories there are characters who straddle the line between main and secondary characters. In A Wrinkle in Time, the character of Mr. Murry fits this description. Mr. Murry, Meg's father, doesn't take part in very much of the action of this novel, which is centered on his daughter, but he is present in everyone's thoughts throughout.

Mr. Murry is a research scientist who went missing in an experiment involving tesseracts and is the person Meg, Charles, and Calvin go searching for in space. Because Mr. Murry doesn't see any real action until well into the story, we consider him a secondary character.

Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which

Sometimes, characters have interesting and memorable names. Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which are great examples of characters that keep a reader interested. Though the names may sound similar, these characters have differences, such as Mrs. Who's fondness for quoting people both famous and infamous. However, they all appear to be rather eccentric older ladies who inexplicably know a lot about the Murry family, Mr. Murry's disappearance, and even the subject of his research: tesseracts.

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