Quirky Books: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

This will be a classic novel. The underlying meaning completely changes every time it is read. Reading it as a child it was a simple story where love conquers. Reading it again, in college, it speaks against communism. Reading it again it emphasizes the importance of being an individual, resisting criticisms and avoiding judgment of others.

The imagery possesses a variety of symbolism. Avoiding a static format there are multiple plots. It is not overly crafted to the point where all nuance is lost. Similar to a well written song, it expresses several modes. A person is free to interpret through their current experiences, because it is written from the heart.

Madeleine L'Engle was born in 1918. From New York City, she lived though two World Wars, the Great Depression and the Korean War. The focus is time, yet citizens of the United States focus on anti-communism. Perhaps the symbolism associated to communism, "the Black Thing," is inappropriate.

Communism is nothing more than a system of government, yet she focuses on individuality a principle upheld in the United States. Published in 1962, shortly after the end of World War II, fascination turned toward maintaining democracy in South Korea. It this way, "the Black Thing" is not merely Marxism, Utilitarianism or Communism it is any group wishing to oppress anyone through means of war.

A grander villain in the story is the, "Happiest Sadist," in some versions, "Happy Sad." In the longer version the boy reiterates, "That's s-a-d-i-s-t, not s-a-d-d-e-s-t."

The Happiest Sadist is a disconnected brain, incapable of love. It forces everyone into its ideal of efficiency. Retraining everyone to operate at the same of efficiency they put the sickly and incapable "to sleep." In this world where the Black Thing rules the masses fear, pain and strife drive them to conform or die. The Happiest Sadist regulates everyone's activity, even heartbeat.

The end of the story is lacking, because they merely recover their lost father. This gives the reader an opportunity to write their own story; wherein, they reached a compromise or took another approach of empathy. They want to destroy, not find peace with the Black Thing; therefore, go against the core concept of the story.

It is a pleasant children book reinforcing major principles of freedom in the United States. There is a heavy emphasis on individuality and tolerance, using love and kindness to become accepting of everyone. The characters are relatable, varying from an ideal society in unique ways. One premise bothers me. Children find their destiny in an epic battle by wondering away from home and becoming friends of strange old ladies living out in the forest. Combining talking to stranger and epic adventure is awkward.

Parents raised in democratic, free market societies will find it is an excellent book for themselves and children. The depth and variation in philosophy stimulate several ideals. People enjoying other forms of government will find it relays valuable cultural traditions.

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