A Wrinkle in Time

by: Madeleine L'Engle

Chapter 3: Mrs. Which


Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin return to the Murry home, where Mrs. Murry huddles over her Bunsen burner, preparing a dinner of thick stew. Calvin calls his mother to tell her that he will not be home for dinner, though he tells Meg that he doubts his mother would have even noticed his absence. Calvin is deeply moved by the warmth and love that permeates the Murry household, and exclaims to Meg that she is very lucky to have such a wonderful family life.

Before dinner, Meg shows Calvin a picture of her father with a group of scientists at Cape Canaveral. She also helps him with his homework. Calvin is surprised to learn that Meg, who is several grades below him in school, is able to help him with his math and physics. Mrs. Murry explains that Meg's father used to play number games with her when she was a child, thus teaching her all sorts of tricks and shortcuts.

After dinner, Calvin reads to Charles Wallace in bed while Meg sits with her mother downstairs. Mrs. Murry expresses her grief at her beloved husband's absence. She tells Meg that she believes that things always have an explanation, but that these explanations may not always be clear to us. Meg finds this notion troublesome because she likes to think she can understand everything. She comments that Charles Wallace seems to understand more than everyone else, and Mrs. Murry says that this is because Charles is somehow special.

In the evening, Meg and Calvin go out for a walk in the Murrys' backyard. Calvin asks Meg about her father, and she explains that he is a physicist who worked for the government first in New Mexico and then at Cape Canaveral. Meg tells Calvin that the family hasn't heard from their father for a year now, and Calvin alludes to all the rumors that the townspeople circulate about Mr. Murry's whereabouts. Meg becomes immediately defensive, and Calvin is quick to assure her that he has always doubted the rumors' truth. Calvin holds Meg's hand and tells her that her eyes are beautiful; Meg feels herself blushing in the moonlight.

Charles Wallace suddenly appears, announcing that it is time for them to leave on their mission to find Mr. Murry. Mrs. Who slowly materializes in the moonlight and Mrs. Whatsit scrambles over a fence, wearing Mrs. Buncombe's sheets. Then, in a faint gust of wind, their friend Mrs. Which announces in a quivering voice that she, too, is here, but will not materialize completely, as the process is too tiring and the little band has much to do.


As in the previous chapter, Meg is troubled by all that she does not completely understand. Her first challenge in the novel is to learn to accept not knowing everything. For example, when she first meets Calvin, she immediately wants to form a definitive opinion of him, but her mother urges her to be patient and insists that in time she will come to know him better.