Mrs Whatsit from “A Wrinkle in Time”

Mrs Whatsit as a Symbol

Wrinkle-In-Time-Cover

Mrs. Whatsit is the second woman.

Of the three “witch” characters in A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle’s classic science fiction novel, Mrs Whatsit is easily the most forward-facing. In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Whatsit is an enlightener, and a deliverer of information. As she and her cohorts whisk the Murray children through the universe on their extraordinary adventure, Mrs Whatsit is typically there to make sure everybody knows what’s going on, while lending a bit of comic relief along the way.

Mrs Whatsit, Bringer of Knowledge

One of the most important symbols in A Wrinkle in Time is knowledge itself. Many times throughout the novel, the story examines the way knowledge and wisdom often transcend the ways that we typically think about them.

When she’s first introduced, Mrs Whatsit immediately represents a lot of the symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time. She communicates telepathically with the child genius Charles Wallace, suggesting right off the bat that communication and expression isn’t limited to the words that we typically limit ourselves to using. This deepened level of understanding makes it instantly clear that Mrs Whatsit is one of the more important symbols in A Wrinkle in Time.

For many, Mrs Whatsit is favored among the Wrinkle in Time characters. When she’s introduced she’s thought to be a tramp, and basically trips all over herself. She becomes one of the most important symbols in A Wrinkle in Time when we realize that there’s a lot more to Mrs Who than the way she appears, which is something all the Wrinkle in Time characters have to learn.

Almost Nothing Is As It Seems

A big part of the symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time involves knowledge and wisdom. Specifically where it comes from and how it’s best accessed. At many junctures, the novel essentially makes the argument that true enlightenment doesn’t come from all the places we think it does.

Mrs Whatsit, in A Wrinkle in Time, helps to illustrate that there’s really a lot more to the universe than the things we simple humans are capable of understanding. She first helps embody some of the symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time by transforming into a majestic, winged Centaur-esque creature when visiting planet Uriel.

In this form, it’s Mrs Whatsit that shows the children The Black Thing and basically spells out their whole mission for them. In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Whatsit functions as a giver of information, and is integral to the plot’s forward movement. It’s the way that she gives this information, though, that helps her to represent some of the most important symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time.

Youth, Wisdom, and Self-Sacrifice

Since Mrs Whatsit is the youngest of the three celestial beings that guide the children on their adventure, she has the easiest time both appearing to and communicating with them. Of course, when Mrs Whatsit explains her act of sacrifice, she become one of the many (though never overbearing) Christain symbols in A Wrinkle in Time.

Of all the characters in A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Whatsit is easily the most helpful. Her connection with the children makes it easy for L’Engle to focus on her symbolic significance, which makes her one of the most meaningful characters in the novel.