44 pages 1 hour read

Madeleine L'Engle

A Wind In The Door

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1973

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Summary and Study Guide


A Wind in the Door, a science-fiction novel published in 1973, was written by renowned American author Madeleine L’Engle. L’Engle is the author of more than 60 books and winner of numerous awards, including the Margaret A. Edwards award for her lifelong contributions to teen readership. A Wind in the Door is the second novel of the Time Quintet and sequel to the acclaimed A Wrinkle in Time. While A Wind in the Door did not earn the same critical reception as the other books in the Time Quintet, many critics still applaud L’Engle’s work and imagination and believe this novel is equally as good as the rest in the quintet. A Wind in the Door continues the story of Meg and Charles Wallace Murry and Calvin O’Keefe as they battle more supernatural villains attacking the universe.

Plot Summary

When Meg Murry gets home from school, her brother, Charles Wallace, tells her he saw a drive of dragons in their twin brothers’ vegetable garden. He takes her to where he saw them, but they are no longer there. Meg returns to the house for a cardigan and asks her mother what’s wrong with Charles Wallace because he’s pale and out of breath. Meg returns to the pasture, and Louise the Larger, a black garden snake, slithers toward them. Charles Wallace senses she’s looking for something. Then the Murrys’ dog Fortinbras runs to a large rock in the pasture. The kids follow him and find a pile of sparkling feathers and silver-gold scales.

The family discusses the feathers over dinner. They also discuss why Mr. Murry is away. Mrs. Murry explains that instruments on Earth are picking up strange sounds in other galaxies. After these sounds, a rip in the galaxies appears, and several stars disappear. Mr. Murry is gathering with other scientists to see if this will impact Earth.

After dinner, Meg sneaks outside to find the remaining scales and feathers. In the orchard, she sees Mr. Jenkins, Charles Wallace’s principal, approach her. When Meg reaches for his hand, Louise hisses at him. Mr. Jenkins screams and flies into the air like a bird, causing Meg to panic. Calvin appears and comforts Meg. They go to the field and find the pile of feathers and scales. Then Charles Wallace emerges because he felt Meg screaming in his sleep. As they stand there, they hear a voice telling them not to be afraid. The voice belongs to Blajeny, a Teacher from another universe. Blajeny introduces the kids to Proginoskes. Proginoskes is the dragon Charles Wallace saw, but because he has many eyes and wings, he looks like multiple dragons. Blajeny tells Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin that they have to help figure out what’s wrong with Charles Wallace and that each of them will have a challenge they must overcome.

The next morning, Meg goes to the pasture and finds Proginoskes, confirming that yesterday’s events actually happened. When Meg tells Proginoskes about seeing Mr. Jenkins in the garden, he realizes this must be related to their first trial. Proginoskes teaches Meg about the Echthroi and how they’re causing the rips in space that make stars disappear. He also shows Meg a memory of her parents talking and connecting the tears in space to Mrs. Murry’s discovery of mitochondria and farandolae. Meg and Proginoskes go to Charles Wallace’s school to see Mr. Jenkins. When they arrive, Mr. Jenkins sees them in the schoolyard and walks toward them. Two other Mr. Jenkinses appear, and Proginoskes tells Meg that her first test is to Name the real Mr. Jenkins. As the three Mr. Jenkinses argue and try to convince Meg who is the real one, Charles Wallace walks out of the school carrying Louise. He brought her to show his class, but his teacher told him to take her home. Meg tries to use Louise to help her choose the real Mr. Jenkins. After the Mr. Jenkinses take Louise and Charles Wallace home, Meg correctly Names Mr. Jenkins One as the real Mr. Jenkins. The Echthroi leave in a rage. Meg cries in relief, and when Proginoskes materializes in front of Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Jenkins faints.

Blajeny appears and congratulates Meg. Louise slithers back to the school and tells Blajeny that the Echthroi are furious and are making Charles Wallace’s health decline faster. Blajeny takes the group to Metron Ariston, not a place but an idea where they can plan and meet a farandola. The farandola’s name is Sporos, and he is unhappy that he has to work with earthlings because they are so inferior to him. Blajeny pairs Calvin with Sporos and tells everyone they are going into one of Charles Wallace’s mitochondria. This mitochondria’s name is Yadah and is where Sporos was born. When Meg arrives in Yadah, she can’t see or move. She can only communicate or move by kything with Proginoskes and the others. Meg and Proginoskes realize their next task is to help Sporos Deepen and become an adult. She tries to reach out to Mr. Jenkins, but when she does, she feels excruciating pain and realizes she’s being Xed. Proginoskes and Calvin kythe to her and bring her back to herself. An Echthroi-Mr. Jenkins had followed them into Yadah, so when Meg tried reaching out to Mr. Jenkins, she touched an Echthros instead. Meg tries again and successfully holds Mr. Jenkins’s hand.

Meg continues to help Mr. Jenkins understand kything and what their task is. When Mr. Jenkins becomes overwhelmed, Calvin tries to help using an experience from when he was nine. Calvin’s story helps Mr. Jenkins a little, but Mr. Jenkins is still slow to comprehend. Proginoskes tells the group they must Name Sporos but can only do so after he Deepens. The farae of Yadah begin to sing a song of the universe. Sporos and the other farandolae start dancing around Senex, the fara where Sporos was born, draining him of energy. They continue their chaotic dance around the other farae, causing their song and energy to falter and diminish. Meg and the others try to convince Sporos to Deepen, but the Echthroi, still taking the form of Mr. Jenkins, counter their pleas. Calvin and Meg join Sporos in his dance because they’re all connected, and they care about him. Mr. Jenkins then embraces Meg, saving her from dying. However, the Echthroi-Mr. Jenkinses surround Mr. Jenkins and go into him. Sporos sees Mr. Jenkins’s sacrifice, so he and the other farandolae Deepen. Meg’s third test is to save Mr. Jenkins from the Echthroi.

The single Mr. Jenkins tries to persuade the group to X with him. Sporos and the other Deepening farandolae begin singing. Calvin tries to pull the real Mr. Jenkins out, but the Echthroi hit Calvin and begin Xing him. Meg then kythes to Mr. Jenkins, and he tells Meg to fill the vacuum the Echthroi have created. She throws herself into the Echthroi, as does Proginoskes. Meg holds the Echthroi and Names them, telling them she loves them. Senex, Sporos, and the other farandolae and farae join her. Meg suddenly transports to Charles Wallace’s room and embraces her brother. She tells her parents she was in one of Charles Wallace’s mitochondria, and they believe her. Meg is sad, however, because Proginoskes Xed himself to save them all from the Echthroi. Calvin reassures her that Proginoskes was Named, so he is ok. Everyone has dinner. Afterward, Calvin and Meg walk to the pasture but find nothing there. On the walk back home, they see Louise in the garden. Meg feels comforted and goes home and upstairs to see Charles Wallace.