In Madeleine L’Engle’s book ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ an important quest takes Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin to five different planets. In this lesson, you’ll learn about Camazotz, the least hospitable of the planets.
A Dark Planet
One of the key themes in A Wrinkle in Time is the battle between good and evil. In this story, good is represented as light, and evil is represented as darkness.
While some planets are light, others are shadowed, which means they are in an active fight against the darkness. The most evil planets of all are completely covered by darkness. Camazotz is one such planet.
Camazotz appears very peaceful and orderly at first, but it does not take long for Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin to sense that something is not right. Children bounce balls in unison, workers do their jobs like robots, and mothers all call their children home at the same time.On Camazotz, freedom and individuality are nowhere to be found.
All thoughts come through IT, a disembodied brain that controls the minds of all who live on Camazotz. IT acts as a ruthless dictator, punishing those who do not accept its control.
Why would anyone voluntarily go to Camazotz? This is a good question, one that is central to the plot of the story.
Nobody willingly subjects him/herself to oppression, but sometimes doing so becomes a necessary evil.In A Wrinkle in Time, love is the motivation for entering such an evil place. Meg and Charles Wallace Murry love their father, and he is being held captive on this planet because he will not submit to the authority of IT. His original arrival on Camazotz was the result of a time and space travel experiment that did not go as planned.After Dr. Murry is rescued, Meg must return to Camazotz to rescue her brother, who has fallen under the control of IT. Once again, love is the motivation.
In fact, love is the very power that overcomes the darkness that has hold of Charles Wallace’s mind.
Now let’s spell out some key features of Camazotz:Controlled by IT: One central brain does all of the thinking for people. This brain entices people by offering them ease and release from the responsibility of thought.
Affection: The power of love gives Meg the strength to rescue her father and her brother. Love and affection do not exist on Camazotz.Murry family must escape: Dr. Murry, and then Charles Wallace, have to be rescued from Camazotz.Autocracy: IT has absolute authority on the planet. All inhabitants are required to have official papers on file at the CENTRAL Central Intelligence building.
Zombie-like: Those under IT’s influence appear like zombies. Their expressions are vacant, as if someone else is speaking through them. They go through the motions of living but are devoid of any real life.Order: Everyone has a predetermined role to play.
People live, work, and relax in set ways and set times.The Black Thing: This is the name given to the darkness that surrounds Camazotz and other dark planets.Zero tolerance for aberrant behaviors: Dr. Murry is captive because of his refusal to give his mind over to IT. Those who do not obey IT get severe and painful punishment.
To review, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin must travel to the distant planet Camazotz in order to rescue Dr. Murry.
This is a dark planet, meaning that it is controlled by evil.Those who live on Camazotz do not own their own thoughts; they are controlled by one central brain known as IT. IT does not allow any deviations from the prescribed order. Those who attempt to do their own thing end up imprisoned; this is what happened with Dr. Murry.
Ultimately, it is love that motivates the children to search for their father, and it is love that rescues Charles Wallace from the evil control of IT.