Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Blog 9 - Storms as Foreshadowing

In her Time Quartet, Madeleine L’Engle uses unusual weather as foreshadowing for big events to come. Beginning on the first page of the first book, A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle describes violent storms that are often out of season as precursors to unusual events for the Murry family and their friends. Her vivid descriptions only add to the high-running emotions of her characters who are about to embark on wild and dangerous adventures. “It was a dark and stormy night…frenzied lashing of the wind…clouds scudded frantically across the sky…the moon ripped through them, creating wraithlike shadows that raced along the ground. The house shook” (A Winkle in Time 1). During and after this storm Mrs. Whatsit is introduced to the family in the middle of the night in the middle of the storm. As the evening progresses, we see that Mrs. Whatsit sends them on a mission to collect their father out of the grasp of evil.

In A Wind in the Door, L’Engle does not let her character share a quiet evening before expedition. “Outside the dining-room windows came a sudden brilliant flash of light, followed by a loud clap of thunder. The windows rattled. The kitchen door burst open. Everybody jumped” (A Wind in the Door 38). After the storm, and when dinner was over, Meg left to investigate Charles Wallace’s so-called dragons and there she encountered an Echthros, although she did not know at that time what it was. Directly following this, she meets Blajeny and Proginoskes, Teacher and classmate, respectively.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet is no exception. After Mr. Murry hears from the President that nuclear war is imminent, Mrs. O’Keefe begins to remember the ancient St. Patrick rune, which details nature and its various personifications. ‘And the—the lightning with its rapid wrath,/ And the winds with their swiftness along their path—’ The wind gave a tremendous gust, and the house shook under the impact, but stood steady” (A Swiftly Tilting Planet 19). As Mrs. O’Keefe continued the rune the lines seemed to come alive in the elements both inside and outside the house. However, this rune and the storm that seemingly resulted from its reciting, foretold what would happen to Charles Wallace on his journeys through time with Gaudior. In fact, the rune and thus, the weather that seemed to act out the rune at the Murry house, played key roles in the journeys of the time-traveling pair.

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