Monday, November 23, 2009

To be or not to be myself?

A victim of middle child syndrome throughout most of my youth, I am able to personally sympathize with Meg Murry’s adolescent anxt. I also hated feeling like the odd one out, the least gifted out of her siblings. After completing Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, I am amazed by how much you can get out of this novel. Although it is known to be a children’s novel I thought the message (or at least the message according to my critique) to be fairly advanced. Of all the terrifying things Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin encounter (the black thing, “tessering”, and the beasts) what is the most frightening is a large mushy brain sitting on a table in a vacant room.
For a child to grasp that this brain, representative of the inability to have a hold of your own functions and individuality, to be scarier than a huge beast is quite impressive. This brain, or “IT” rather, is the materialization of the fear of individuality. Those living in Camazotz are clear representations of those who relinquish their opinions and uniqueness in order to fit in or “go with the flow.” Camazotz itself is an allegory of “the gray sameness of those Communist countries” (pg. 4).
I feel like this is and quite sadly, will always be a problem that young children and adults will be forced to face throughout their lives. In grammar school, middle school, high school, and sometimes even college, kids are constantly being influenced, either by their peers or through media, to fit in a certain way, to act, to look, and to think “like everybody else.” This is the danger that Charles, Meg, and Calvin face on Camazotz with IT. Giving in to IT gets rid of any shred of individuality that a person has, making Camazotz’s inhabitants brainless zombies.
Throughout this book there is a huge emphasis on individuality. The reader is told ad infinitum how different Meg Murry is and how strange Charles Wallace is. When the three Mrs. W’s are introduced in the novel the children begin to realize that perhaps their individuality is special. What troubles me still is how Meg’s anger is seen as a positive. I do believe that a person’s passion and emotions are not necessarily a negative, but can be a reflection of their uniqueness. It angers me that Meg is told that her anger is a gift, but in the end does not use her anger but rather her love- the exact opposite of anger- to retrieve Charles Wallace. I feel like emphasizing Meg’s anger as a tool to expel IT was not the greatest device to exemplify a person’s uniqueness. It is quite obvious that what L’Engle is trying to get across is that love, above all else, separates people into two categories; those who embrace themselves for who they are and those who give up their individuality and become mindless zombies like those on Camazotz.

No comments:

Post a Comment