Sunday, November 22, 2009


A Wrinkle in Time leads up to the final battle between human and evil, love and hate, or more specifically Meg versus IT. And the only key to destroying It was by loving her brother. In the world of Comaztoz, the people are under complete control of IT as the children play in rhythm to it, no one has emotion (apart from fear), and all of the decisions are made for them. Any deviation, even in the simple act of a child dropping a ball, results in punishment in the form of a re-conditioned brain. Thus free will and emotion are wiped from the record in exchange for so-called “happiness”. And yet, is life worth living without choice? Without freedom? And without love?

Under the hypnosis of IT, the man with red eyes says, “You see, what you will soon realize is that there is no need to fight me. Not only is there no need, but you will not have the slightest desire to do so. For why should you wish to fight someone who is here only to save you pain and trouble? For you, as well as for the rest of all the happy, useful people on this plane, I, in my own strength, am willing to assume all the pain, all the responsibility, all the burdens of thought and decision” (L’Engle, 116). In this mode your entire life is choreographed for you and you simply are forced to go through the motions. However, without decision then life turns into monotonous repetition of following order rather than following your own instincts or desires. Thus you have to give away not only your brain but also the very thing that makes you human, that is desire. A person should be able to desire to learn something new, to do something creative, or simply to bounce the ball out of rhythm with IT. I’m not suggesting anything more radical than simple free will.

This work of young adult fantasy fiction is not that far from reality in that there are many countries both in the past and present where free will is stifled and that control lies completely in the hands of the government. One could cite any totalitarian government that mandates their citizens’ every action.

Rather than prescribing to such a narrow definition of existence, I would rather prescribe to Ms. Whatsit’s version of life in that, it is a sonnet. We cannot help our fate or the moment that we will die and yet there is freedom within the things we can control, such as the everyday decision that the people of Comatzaz are deprived of because of IT. Mrs. Whatsit says, “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself”(190).

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