Missed another one

hallieod at indigo.ie hallieod at indigo.ie
Mon Feb 10 08:37:55 EST 2003


Charlie:

>Can't agree there. I read this just a few years ago, under the impression
>(you can see why) that it would be a time fantasy. I enjoyed the first two
>or three chapters - Charles Wallace a good creation - but my Enjoyometer
>dipped sharply when we got to that wearisome set of whimsical witches called
>Why and What and Wherefore (or similar). And it started sending out blue
>sparks when I realised that the whole thing was a (and I exaggerate only
>very slightly for effect) a McCarthyite allegory of the Cold War which
>taught the only way to avoid a life of mindless uniformity (communism) was
>by constant recitation of the Gettysburg address and/or the Pledge of
>Allegiance (free and indendent thought).

Uhhn.  I can see how you can  read it this way, but I think it's a 
bit strong to say that you "realised" the thing "was" a McCarthyite 
allegory...   There are plenty of visions of mindless uniformity 
which don't represent communism, and surely the point about the 
Gettysburg address & PoA was that Meg had memorised them in school 
and so was able to recite them.  She tried the multiplications tables 
first, didn't she?

FWIW, my father was held in an internment camp during The Troubles, 
and wrote later about reciting poetry he'd learned in school to keep 
himself sane.  The poetry he learned in school would have been mostly 
British, but that doesn't make his use of it as a defense an 
endorsement of Imperialsm (especially as he was on De Valera's side - 
which was the one which kept on fighting to have Ireland totally free 
of Great Britain!).  Ok, it may not be *that* relevant, but it does 
show that there can be alternate ways of reading the use of the 
recited material in the book.   Even without reading what L'Engle's 
wrote about writing AWiT, in _Walking on Water_.

Hallie.

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