“Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil.” – Marcus Aurelius. A Wrinkle in Time is a book about the journey through the war of good versus evil and the ultimate triumph of love. Every character is clearly distinguished with either good or evil: the “good” characters include Meg, her family, Calvin, the Mrs. W’s, Aunt Beast, and the Happy Medium; the “evil” characters include IT, The Dark Thing, and the Man with the Red Eyes. Frankenstein, on the other hand, is a story told in a series of letters, as Robert Walton, the captain of a ship bound for the North Pole, recounts to his sister back in England the progress of his dangerous mission. Successful early on, the mission is soon to be disturbed by seas full of impassable ice. Trapped, Walton encounters Victor Frankenstein, who had been travelling by dog-drawn sledge across the ice and is weakened by the cold. Walton take him abroad the ship, helps nurse him back to health, and hears the fantastic tale of the monster the Frankenstein created.
This tale that Frankenstein is reciting reveals the two sides that a person, or a living creature can portray: good and evil. Frankenstein was banned in South Africa for being “obscene” and “indecent”, while A Wrinkle in Time was banned for having a fantasy-related genre throughout the plot, including witches and demons. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. “Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master; — obey!” (Shelley 149). In Frankenstein, the monster represents evil, as it comes to life, and terrorizes its creator. Dangerous knowledge is an ideal theme in Frankenstein. The pursuit of knowledge is right in the middle of Frankenstein, as Victor attempts to go beyond accepted human limits and find out the secret of life.
Likewise, Robert Walton attempts to pass the past human explorations by being determined to reach the North Pole. In A Wrinkle In Time, comfort and individuality is a major theme that I saw throughout the plot. The main character, Meg, is caught between the desire for conformity and the expression of her own creative nature. At the beginning of the novel Meg feels embittered towards other students at her school that make fun of her and tease her for being different, as well as those who see her little brother as being weird or odd. She desperately wants to be more like her twin brothers who have little problem fitting in. The theme that the two stories share, and that I have mentioned before, is the theme titled good and evil: “Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure.
Then, slowly, the shining dwindled until it, too, was gone, and there was nothing but stars and starlight. No shadows. No fear. Only the stars and the clear darkness of space, quite different from the fearful darkness of the Thing” (L’Engle 102). It’s interesting that the defeat of the Black Thing doesn’t lead to the universe being lit up like a baseball stadium, but rather to an absence of unnatural darkness. It’s almost like the battle isn’t so much between evil and good as between evil and the normal. Characters are “Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations” – Ray Bradbury. In Frankenstein, the main character or the creator of the monster. Victor becomes obsessed with the idea of creating an artificial human form and eventually attempts to make it. Immediately after creating the monster, he falls into a depression and starts to fear. He leaves the school and returns home to his family, where he finds only tragedy.
Not fully aware of the consequences of his creating a new human, he ends up really spending his entire life trying to destroy the same creation he was working to make for so long. In a Wrinkle In Time however, the protagonist is portrayed a bit differently: Meg Murry, The book’s hero, an awkward, but loving high school student who is sent on an adventure through time and space with her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin to rescue her father from the evil force that is attempting to take over the universe. Meg’s greatest faults are her anger, impatience, and lack of self-confidence, but she changes and overcomes them, and in the end is victorious, as the story ends with a stereotypical kid’s-story ending. A happy ending for the protagonist. The main differences that I saw between the two are the two protagonists: Meg Murry (A Wrinkle In Time), and Victor Frankenstein (Frankenstein), are to begin with, set in different times. A Wrinkle In Time could be set anywhere in the recent past. Frankenstein however, is set in the late 18th century. The whole concept of Frankenstein is much darker, and in fact I would say it could be classified as gothic science fiction, as the characters are much darker, and seem more serious and cold-hearted by the way Shelley describes them compared to the other book.
A Wrinkle In Time is much lighter, as the characters, their actions, and abilities are all easier, and always give the advantage to the “good guys”. Also the whole concept of the book, and the idea of it, is more for a child’s imagination to handle and comprehend compared to Frankenstein, and I would classify it as plain science and fantasy fiction. Although these differences shape the stories in totally different directions, there are some similarities: The similarities between the characters and their traits are that they both have solid downsides to them. As I mentioned before, Meg’s (A Wrinkle In Time) faults are her temper, impatience, and lack of confidence in herself, and Victor’s (Frankenstein) faults are that he is in a depression and great fear throughout the plot after the Monster is created and is woken. Another trait I can compare between the two protagonists, are their determination to reach their final goal. Although I cannot see it in either book, but both books were officially banned in one place or another for ridiculous reasons.
Frankenstein was banned in South Africa for being “obscene” and “indecent” in 1955. Maybe 57 years ago there were different rules and traits a person had to portray to be defined as “good”, but to make this specific book banned for being “obscene” (which means that it is offensive or the opposite of accepted manner). A Wrinkle In Time is banned for having witches, crystal balls and demons. Also, because Jesus is listed among the names of great artists, philosophers and teachers, and it is banned in the U.S. “Thus strangely are our souls constructed, and by such slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity or ruin” (Shelley 37). All in all, these books have more differences than similarities in my opinion. Although both are really good, one is dark while the other is light compared.
The similarities that I saw in the characters, the themes, and the reason they were censored are mostly because of the relationship between good and evil throughout it. Studying these two books and the reason for them being banned has surprisingly changed my life in a minor way, as I learned how people from different cultures and education they grew up with react to different things, and I learned to compare and contrast, not only the books, but real life situations such as the South Africans who banned Frankenstein versus my lifestyle and way-of-thinking.