Meg Murray as a Symbol in “A Wrinkle in Time”

Meg Murray as a Symbol

Katie Stuart portrayed  Meg Murry in a film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.

Katie Stuart portrayed Meg Murry in a film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.

Madeline L’engle’s quintessential science-fiction fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time isn’t what one would call an allegory in the strictest sense. Still, there are many symbols in A Wrinkle in Time, both philosophical and metaphysical, which is what makes it such a special book.

Meg as the Angst of Adolescence

The novel’s protagonist, Margaret Murray, is a fourteen-year-old high school student. She’s overly concerned about her looks, incessantly self-critical, and has a ton of angst about her inability to fit in with the other kids at school. If that sounds familiar it’s because Margaret Murray is a symbolic representation of the concerns that just about every teenager experiences at one time or another.

Her journey throughout the novel follows suit, as she eventually learns to embrace everything about herself, even those qualities she sees as her “faults.” Throughout the novel, Meg’s inward criticism is pretty intense, and Meg’s conquering of it winds up helping make her one of the most important symbols in A Wrinkle in Time.

In fact, much of the symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time revolves around loving oneself, which is essentially what Meg must come to do at the novel’s end when she’s faced with the rescue of her younger brother.

Patience, Young Grasshopper

Other aspects of Margaret Murray’s journey show her to represent one of the strongest patience and responsibility symbols in A Wrinkle in Time. Early in the novel, Meg displays an almost trademark impatience, especially when it comes to knowing the answer to things. She also consistently relies on other people to take care of things for her—this can be evidenced by her reliance on holding Calvin’s hand, and her hopes that her Father will simply make everything better once he’s been found.

By the novel’s end, however, Meg has come to embody one of the most important symbols in A Wrinkle in Time: she takes responsibility for herself, and accepts that she sometimes cannot know the unknowable. When she finally learns to trust in herself and embrace all of her qualities, she’s able to vanquish the evil IT and rescue her younger brother Charles Wallace from the dark planet of Camazotz.

Meg Stands on Her Own

Eventually, Meg learns everything she needs to learn. While she’s in the care of Aunt Beast she experiences something of a symbolic death, followed by a symbolic rebirth. She regresses to a childlike state for a period of time, before coming into her own and truly accepting who she is.

It’s easy to see that Margaret Murray, then is symbolic of the adolescent struggle. She must learn to truly accept herself for who she is, and must learn that things won’t always get better unless she does something about them herself.

Ultimately, L’engle wished to use the symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time to illustrate one girl’s coming of age, and in so doing illustrate the struggles experienced by teenagers just trying to fit in all over the world.