Mrs. Who in “A Wrinkle in Time” as a Symbol

Meg Murray as a Symbol

Wrinkle-In-Time-CoverWhile there’s an awful lot of symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle’s classic science fiction novel, none of it is particularly dense or tough to understand. Indeed, L’Engle uses a lot of symbols in A Wrinkle in Time, but she keeps them universal and easy to grasp. As such, her novel has enjoyed a wide audience and continues to be enjoyed by both children and adults alike.

At the center of the novel are three “celestial beings,” each tasked with helping the Murray children on their epic journey. In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Who is one of these three beings, and as one of A Wrinkle in Time’s best characters, it’s easy to see how L’Engle intended for her to be such a powerful, yet simple bit of symbolism.

The Limitations of Language

Much of the symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time lends itself to the theme that words are a bit inadequate when it comes to expressing all the things that can be experienced in the universe. In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Who helps to illustrate this idea by constantly quoting from a number of sources, one of the most notable being Shakespeare.

Many characters in A Wrinkle in Time communicate through some means other than speech, but Mrs Who’s curious way of connecting with the children helps to illustrate some of the other important symbols in A Wrinkle in Time, as well.

A Universal Struggle

In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Who is aiding the Murray children in the fight against the Black Thing, which is essentially a representation of pure evil (another perfect example of the easy yet rich symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time).

At one point, Mrs Who explains that her reliance on quotes can be attributed to her difficulty expressing herself through the English language. She is a celestial being, after all. By quoting sources like Shakespeare and the Bible, however, Mrs Who becomes an important symbol in A Wrinkle in Time, and comes to illustrate the universality of the fight against the Black Thing.

In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Who quotes many of the artists and philosophers who have been said to be fighting against the black thing. This not only illustrates how far through history the struggle actually reaches, but also helps to make some of the important symbolism in A Wrinkle in Time a bit more clear: intellectual and creative expression are the keys in the battle against the Black Thing.

Mrs Who’s Magic Glasses

Mrs Who also owns one of the most important symbols in A Wrinkle in Time: the glasses she gives to Meg on the planet Camazotz. In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Who and the other celestial beings represent a type of enlightenment that the children clearly don’t present yet. When Meg gets her glasses, she’s able to see things she couldn’t see before, making Mrs Who clearly one of the most important characters in A Wrinkle in Time.

In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs Who helps the children on their epic journey by illustrating to them the universality of their struggle, and by helping them understand things that they previously could not. Of all the characters in A Wrinkle in Time, it’s easy to see how many can see Mrs Who as being one of the most symbolically interesting.