Madeline L'Engle

The Author Who Loved to Write

Biography and Introduction

Madeleine L'Engle is the author of multiple books for young adults (over 60 books actually). Instead of doing her homework when she was young, she wrote stories, poems, and journals (this is probably why her books are totally amazing and so professional-- she has been practicing for years!). This reminds me a lot of Meg Murry, in the book A Wrinkle In Time. When she was in college, she even studied English! (Literally her whole life she was pretty much just writing books…) She writes books that are not only for teens, but can also be enjoyed by many of adults.


In the four books that I have read that she has written, I have observed and taken note of a few patterns in Madeleine L'Engle’s style of writing. I feel as her books are mostly driven by a setting (The Moon By Night, A Wrinkle In Time) or a character (Meet The Austins, A Wind In The Door). The books that I’ve read have been driven by a complicated and exciting plot. I found out that she moved multiple times, and this could have inspired her to write a more exciting plot. I believe that two of Madeleine L'Engle’s goals are to describe the setting in a vivid picture to the reader, and to involve the reader in the story. She likes to make the readers feel suspense, and not all of her important characters are not children (this DOES NOT include teens). She loves to use a large vocabulary, and uses interesting characters that she creates herself, or remodels a weird creature. It makes a lot of sense, then, that she tries to make the reader envision that he or she is inside of her books by using descriptive language.

Technique Analysis

Breaking the Fourth Wall


L'Engle sometimes interrupts her book’s story to address the reader upfront. She uses this technique to make her readers more useful in her stories. This helps her goal of involving the reader in her story, because it invites her reader to make assumptions about what may happen next. The weird thing is that she also adds parenthesis when she is breaking the fourth wall.


A Wrinkle In Time: “(Where and what was Camazotz? Meg did not like the sound of the word or the way in which Mrs Whatsit pronounced it.)” On page 109


The Moon By Night: “...traveler’s check cashed (what did they think Daddy was? A crook or something?), and drove…” On page 151


A Wind In The Door: “... and Calvin was there, too (oh, thank you, Blajeny!)...” On page 126

Quoting A Quote


Sometimes, L'Engle quotes a quote in her books, and I believe that she wants to influence her readers positively, so they can have a different outlook on her books/other books and life in general. (This is my favorite technique out of all of them!)


A Wrinkle In Time: “Justitae soror fides. Latin again, or course. Faith is the sister of Justice.” On page 43


The Moon By Night: “Mother is always saying comparisons are odious…” On page 159. Seriously-QUOTES RULE!


A Wrinkle In Time: ““Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. French. Pascal. The heart has its reasons, whereof reason knows nothing.”” On page 42

Personification


In this technique, she is literally giving life to the dead, intangible, and tangible objects. She wants lots of things that don’t have feelings and/or ideas to finally have that ability. It makes everything come alive! (Of course it does, it’s personification…)


A Wrinkle In Time: “The light was neither warm nor cold, but it seemed to reach out and touch them.” On page 173. Here, light is being personified, and it is an intangible thing.


The Moon By Night: “...they had been made by people instead of being something nature dreamed up.” On page 133


A Wind In The Door: “ The window looked out onto the pine woods behind the house; the light which came in was gentle and kind.” On page 132

The Interrupter Dashes


Sometimes she uses dashes either in normal sentences or in dialogue. This makes the sentences more like real life dialogue by having characters interrupt other characters. Then, it’s more like two or more people are conversing.


A Wrinkle In Time: ““If you could teach me enough more about the tesseract so that I could get back to Camazotz—”” On page 214


The Moon By Night: “ I said right back, “That’s not the point—” Zachary cut in…” On page 163, and just as Vicky tries to explain her side, Zachary cuts in and interrupts her.


A Wind In The Door: ““But it’s impossible. A farandolae is so small that—”” On page 128
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Common Character Types

A lot of the times, Madeleine L'Engle has character types that follow through all of her books. I mean, come on. Look at the relationships between Meg and Charles Wallace in the A Wrinkle In Time series, or Vicky and John in the Meet The Austins series. Both of these sister-brother relationships have (what I like to call) family relationship tensions. In these two examples, Meg is jealous of Charles Wallace for his intelligence, and Vicky is jealous of John for the same reasons. (I wonder if this happens in any of her other books….)

The Link To A Short Story (In the Style of Madeleine L'Engle)

Bibliography


--L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle In Time. New York: Square Fish, 1962.


-- L’Engle, Madeleine. The Moon By Night. New York: Square Fish, 1963


-- L’Engle, Madeleine. Meet The Austins. New York: Square Fish,1960


--L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wind In The Door. New York: A Yearling Book, 1973