Chapter 6: The Happy Medium

Essay by kelvinc2A+, April 2006

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The Happy Medium next uses her crystal ball to show the children a battle between the Dark Thing and the stars. Mrs. Whatsit explains that they have just witnessed a star sacrificing its life to fight the Dark Thing, and Charles Wallace correctly guesses that Mrs. Whatsit was once a star who gave up her celestial existence in this way. The children are deeply moved by her sacrifice, and Charles Wallace kisses her in token of their gratitude.

The Happy Medium wishes to leave the children with a more pleasant vision before they depart, so despite Mrs. Which's protestations, she provides them with a glimpse of their mothers. Calvin's mother, however, is spanking one of her little ones with a wooden spoon, and Meg sees this and reaches out to Calvin compassionately. Mrs. Murry is busy writing her daily letter to her husband, a sight that brings tears to Meg's eyes.

After saying goodbye to the Happy Medium, the group tessers to the planet of Camazotz, where Mr. Murry is imprisoned. They stand on a hill overlooking a town and Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who inform them that they will not be able to accompany the children into the town. Instead, they supply each child with a gift that will help them in their battle. Mrs. Whatsit's "gifts" are really mere enhancements of traits the children already possess: she reinforces in Meg her own faults, strengthens Calvin's innate ability to communicate with people of all different types, and bolsters in Charles Wallace the natural resilience of his childhood. Mrs. Who gives Meg her thick funny spectacles, Calvin an excerpt from Shakespeare's "The Tempest," and Charles a quotation from Goethe. Mrs. Which's "gift" to all three children is the command that they go down into the...