Fans of the classic science fiction novel “A Wrinkle in Time” recently got a look at a section of the book that was cut before publication.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Wrinkle” author Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter, Charlotte Jones Voiklis, discovered the section. “Wrinkle,” which won the Newbery Medal, centers on Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe. The three children set off to search for Meg and Charles Wallace’s father, who is being held prisoner on a mysterious planet.
In the deleted passage, Meg asks her father how evil took hold on the planet Camazotz, where all people perform the same actions at the same time and free thinking is discouraged.
“It was the logical outcome of two things,” Meg’s father tells her. “Of complete totalitarianism in certain countries…. It’s like Russia under Kruschev. Or Germany and Hitler. Countries under dictatorships. Franco. Mussolini. Castro. Mao.” When Meg asks him about democracies, he says, “It’s an equally logical outcome of too much prosperity. Or you could put it that it’s the result of too strong a desire for security.”
Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Maloney says that some scholars she queried about the passage believe that naming specific political figures could have dated the book. L'Engle may have taken it out because it was “too political, or too obviously political,” suggested Suzanne Bray, who studies L’Engle’s work.
Voiklis told the WSJ it was her wish that “Wrinkle” fans not narrowly connect Camazotz only with communist countries.
“It’s normal to be afraid,” she said. “But you can’t let the fear control your decisions. Otherwise, you risk becoming like Camazotz.”