Chapter 7 starts out with Charles Wallace’s warning to Calvin that they should all stay together, as told by the three Mrs, and Calvin’s reply that “She told you not to go off by yourself...”
How ironic is that! Charles Wallace has reminded Calvin of the warnings made to them but he fails to see that his attempt to go inside the man with red eye’s mind is leaving the others behind. He tries to fight but eventually is completely overcome by the power of IT - whatever or whoever that is!
Meg and Calvin have no choice but to go with Charles Wallace, knowing full well that he is hypnotised or overcome by IT. As Charles Wallace eats his turkey, Meg and Calvin question the man with red eyes, or the Prime Coordinator. This is the author’s opportunity to provide more information about Camatotz, and what the children can eventually expect will happen to Earth if IT has anything to do with it.
Madeleine L’Engle explains that anyone who becomes sick is killed (“We let no one suffer. It is so much kinder simply to annihilate anyone who is ill....Rather than endure such discomfort they are simply put to sleep.” Pg166). She also explains how the walls have been opened into doors and made into lifts by simply ‘rearranging the atoms’. Talking through Charles Wallace, IT tries to convince Meg and Calvin of the benefits of relaxing and giving into IT by appealing to Meg’s troubles at home for being different, and telling Calvin the only reason he doesn’t have any conflict is because he pretends he isn’t different. They argue that although the Earth isn’t perfect they know what happiness is, something that is not allowed on Camatotz. IT’s final message to the children is through the little boy they encountered earlier, who is now being punished in a cell with invisible walls with pain each time he bounces his ball out of rhythm.
Of course this horrible vision of the little boy in pain is followed immediately by Meg’s joy at finally seeing her father, trapped in the transparent column. Meg’s persistence really brought her power in this Chapter. She tries to physically knock IT out of Charles Wallace and when that fails she continues to deny his claims that going into IT will help her father. At the same time Calvin uses Mrs Who’s words to try to get Charles to push IT out of him and while they were struggling against one another inside Charles’ body this was Calvin and Meg’s chance to get to Mr Murry using Mrs Who’s spectacles. Charles Wallace’s anger at them taking the glasses out makes it clear that they are a very powerful force. Of course that is right and they allow Meg to travel from the outside to the inside to her father. But instead of being able to solve everything, her Father is unable to make the real Charles Wallace overcome IT and they are all lead down to the disembodied brain.
One thing that bothers me about these chapters is that Charles Wallace has, what seems to be, the same ability as IT to go into people’s minds, but he is the one who is controlled by IT but Meg and Calvin aren’t. How do they manage to resist IT when Charles Wallace has been overcome? Charles Wallace even says to Meg to just relax - to me, this means that Calvin and her aren’t easily controlled? What do you think? Do you have a theory on why Meg and Calvin still have free will whilst Charles Wallace has been hypnotised?