10.04.2007

Tribute to Madeline L'Engle

A friend's teenage son introduced me to A Wrinkle in Time in 1976. Since then, I have shared it, along with the other books in the Time Quartet, with my daughter and countless friends.

During times when I have felt world-weary, I have turned back to Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin and come away renewed and uplifted.

Here, perhaps, is my favorite passage (from A Wind in the Door):

"If you've been assigned to me, I suppose you must be some kind of a Namer, too, even if a primitive one."
"A what?"
"A Namer. For instance, the last time I was with a Teacher--or at school, as you call it--my assignment was to memorize the names of the stars."
"Which stars?"
"All of them."
"You mean all the stars, in all the galaxies?"
"Yes. If he calls for one of them, someone has to know which one he means. Anyhow, they like it; there aren't many who know them all by name, and if your name isn't known, then it's a very lonely feeling."
"Am I supposed to learn the name of all the stars, too?" It was an appalling thought.
"Good galaxy, no!"
"Then what am I supposed to do?"
Proginoskes waved several wings, which, Meg was learning, was more or less his way of expressing "I haven't the faintest idea."
"Well, then, if I'm a Namer, what does that mean? What does a Namer do?"
The wings drew together, the eyes closed, singly, and in groups, until all were shut. Small puffs of mist-like smoke rose, swirled about him. "When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. That's basically a Namer's job. Maybe you're supposed to make earthlings feel more human."
"What's that supposed to mean?" She sat down on the rock beside him; she was somehow no longer afraid of his wildness, his size , his spurts of fire.

1 comment:

A.E. said...

It's a great book.

You've got a great list on the "Underway and Pending" list. I have read some of "The Future of Man" and "Structures of Everyday Life." Teilhard de Chardin in particular is a very intriguing man--a rebel priest whose concept of the "noosphere" inspired both the Internet and the posthumanism of Ray Kurzweil and the Singularians.

I added you to my blogroll on my personal blog--I usually crosspost everything I write from my other blogs onto it.