A Wrinkle In Time

Madeline L’Engle’s novel “A Wrinkle in Time” [1963] combines physics and metaphysics into an engaging science fiction fantasy novel for young adults.

13 year old Meg Murry is a bit out of sorts with her life, misunderstood by teachers and classmates and not as gifted as her athletic twin brothers Sandy and Dennys. Her father, a brilliant physicist, has disappeared a year earlier without a trace, leaving her beautiful and clever scientist mother and happy family with unresolved grief and questions.

Meg’s five year old brother Charles Wallace, a child prodigy, is her only kindred spirit and companion amid all the confusion of her teen existence.


One dark and stormy night, Meg, Charles Wallace and their mother, are visited by their curious neighbour Mrs Whatsit. The eccentric old tramp mysteriously mentions,

there is such a thing as a tesseract…

…nearly making Mrs Murry faint. She reveals that it was their father’s life mission to discover the tesseract and he was close to making a breakthrough when he mysteriously disappeared. The revelation launches Meg and Charles Wallace on an adventure to find their father.

With the help of Meg’s high school friend Calvin, they track Mrs Whatsit to her ramshackle house in the woods where they discover her two equally mysterious and eccentric friends, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. These women transport the three children through a tesseract, a fifth dimension fold in the fabric of space-time, to the planet Camazotz where Meg’s father is held captive by “The Black Thing”.

Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace discover the universe is threatened by “IT”, an evil presence which already partially has a grip on planet earth. “The Black Thing” or “IT” controls minds and enslaves all living beings, removing all freedom, joy, creativity and love.


Charles Wallace seeks to counter “IT” with his intellect but succumbs to its mind-controlling powers. It is only Meg who discovers that she is in possession of the one thing “IT” does not have – love.

The novel is a classic in teen and young adult fiction, placing the cosmic battle of good and evil into the hands of children. Meg realises that parents cannot always solve things, and sometimes kids can solve problems themselves.

Originally despondent she did not have the genius intellect of Charles Wallace or the athletic good nature of her brothers, Meg realises she is in possession of the most powerful force in the universe to counteract evil – love.


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde’s 1890 philosophical novel, tells of a young man, Dorian, whose stunning beauty captures the attention of artist Basil Hallward.

Dorian sits for a portrait with the artist and there he encounters Lord Henry Wotton.

Wotton introduces Dorian to his hedonistic philosophy in which beauty is the only aspect of life worth pursuing.  Dorian influenced by Wotton and wishing his beauty would never fade, agrees to sell his soul to preserve it.

His wager entails him wishing the painting, not himself, to bear the ravages of age.


This achieved, Dorian lives a libertine and amoral lifestyle, remaining beautiful and young.

His first crime is to break the heart of actress Sibyl; after this Dorian notes a cold sneer appear in the portrait’s face.

18 years pass, and Dorian’s debauchery gains him renown. Basil the artist seeks out Dorian to ask him whether the rumours are true.

Dorian does not deny it but shows Basil the painting in the locked room. Both men are astonished by the hideous visage of the portrait and in anger Dorian stabs the artist, considering him responsible for the whole endeavour.

dorian grey

Dorian encounters James, the brother of Sibyl, intent on revenging her death due to heartbreak.

Fleeing James he seeks to reform his ways but find even while seeking to do good, his pride makes the picture uglier and uglier.

At last in desperation, Dorian seeks to destroy the painting and all evidence of his ugliness. He takes a knife and stabs the painting.

Servants awake to hear a cry in the locked room and upon entry, find an ugly old man stabbed in the heart on the floor and the picture of youthful Dorian, beside him.


Literary critics and philosophers have noted the story’s moral question:

If we do evil and not suffer the consequences of our actions, then who or what does?

Is it our society that suffers the hidden insults and slights of our pleasure seeking and pride?

Or the planet?

dying earth

This story cuts to the core of the current consciousness of karma, in which our selfishness and greed store up consequences for us and affect our society and planet. The solution lies in selfless living and good deeds.

But what the story of Dorian Gray points out, is that even in moral reform and good deeds, Dorian gained ugliness through pride.

The solution lies unresolved by the tragic novel.

There is another story of one who bore our likeness, who took on the evil that we create in our daily self-seeking and pride. This one, when we realised our guilt, we struck down to die.

In doing so we cut our selves to the core.

The Christ story does not stop here, with our own death, caused by our own vice. The story tells us, that Christ took the death for us that we might retain youth and innocence.

dying christ

What is the exchange for such a price you might ask?

Simply the acknowledgement that the one who lay dying, died for us. To deny it, simply means we are keeping the painting in a locked room.





Imaginary Time

Here’s a thought experiment.

Compare yourself to a mayfly. The mayfly hatches, matures, mates and dies within a 36 hour period. It’s experience of infancy, adolescence, maturity and old age happens within 3 solar days.

may fly

Arguably a mayfly experiences time different to you. Solar time is constant, but experientially the fly lives a lifetime within a few days.

solar time

Compare yourself to a toddler who wakes, eats, naps, wakes, eats, plays, sleeps. Within a few hours the child can transform from happy, sad, tired, hungry, excited and morose.

Their attention span is at the minute level. They change so quickly, each day learning new things. Like a dancing flame, their life experience is vital and changing.


Arguably a toddler experiences time different to you. Solar time is constant but experientially the toddler lives a few months within a few days.

ancient clock

Do you notice people older than you seem to find the years pass pretty much like days ?

Oh – another year already?



Arguably someone in their 80s experiences time different to you. Solar time is constant but experientially they live but a few days within a year.


Do you imagine that experiential time progresses throughout our life as though on a coil? Tightly sprung we are conceived, we are born, we grow, we mature, we age …..and we die.

solar time

We come into this world spinning like a top, whirling rotations. As the solar days set our clocks, our experiential time differs  to other creatures and other humans.

golden ratio

Slowly our coil slows until our experience plateaus into unchanging days and years ………..


Enter into a story, and within the short inches between covers, you experience a life time of feelings, visions, tastes, smells, loves and losses. A few short days can yield months or years of experiential time.

imaginary time

Is it true then reading stories makes as though young again? It tightens the coil of our experiential time back to the vitality of our youth?