In ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ Charles Wallace and Meg Murry embark on a journey through time and space to rescue their father. Calvin O’Keefe joins them on their quest. This lesson will focus on the character Calvin O’Keefe.
A Man of Many Hats
Have you ever felt like a person living different lives, each life bringing out different aspects of your personality? Well, this pretty much describes the life of Calvin O’Keefe in A Wrinkle in Time. You might say he wears a different hat at home, at school, and when he is with the Murry family.On the surface, he is a tall, thin teenage boy with freckles and blue eyes. Here we will discuss the different roles Calvin plays on a deeper level.
The Family Hat
Calvin O’Keefe is the third child in a family with 11 children. The word neglected accurately describes his life at home.
His family does not have a lot of money and cares little about personal appearance. According to Calvin, they care even less about him.When Calvin first enters the story, he is wearing worn-out corduroy pants that are way too short. He tells Meg and Charles Wallace that staying out late is no big deal at his house; his mother, in fact, would likely not even notice whether or not he comes home. The only real problem with staying out late is that he might end up locked out of his house- something that has happened before.He pretty much sums up his feelings about living in his household when he tells Meg, ‘You don’t know how lucky you are to be loved.’
The School Hat
Charles Wallace is intent on figuring out just what kind of person Calvin is before inviting him into the Murry’s world. Meg is a bit intimidated by this popular upperclassman from her school, especially since she herself is awkward and unpopular. After the initial awkwardness of the children’s first meeting, Calvin quickly becomes one of the gang.On the way to join Meg and Charles Wallace for dinner, Calvin explains, ‘I’ve never even seen your house, and I have the funniest feeling that for the first time in my life I’m going home.’ In the course of an evening, he finds, for the first time, a place he can fit in.
At school, he plays the game; at home, he gets neglected; with the Murry family he notes, ‘I feel as though I were just being born! I’m not alone anymore!’Like the rest of the Murry crowd, Calvin is very intelligent. In addition, he and Charles Wallace share a special intuitive bond. They both tune into life on a deeper, almost spiritual, level. Mrs. Whatsit, one of the celestial beings in the novel, tells Calvin that his gift is ‘to communicate with all kinds of people.
‘There are clear romantic overtones between Meg and Calvin. Throughout the story, Calvin wipes her tears, holds her hand, and makes every effort to protect her. He even compliments her on her ‘dream-boat eyes.’
Calvin O’Keefe is a teenage boy who stumbles his way into the unconventional lives of the Murry family. This connection helps him to finally feel appreciated for his uniqueness.
This appreciation runs in stark contrast to the fitting in he has to do in high school and the neglect he feels at home.