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Literature: An Acceptable Time
A novel by Madeleine L'Engle, sometimes referred to as the fifth book in the Time Quartet (Quintet?) series, but more a part of the O'Keefe family series. In this book, Polly O'Keefe, the daughter of Meg and Calvin O'Keefe, is being sent to her grandparents' house in Connecticut, where she, Zachary Gray, and retired bishop Nason Colubra are transported three thousand years into the past, where the People of the Wind, from A Swiftly Tilting Planet, are facing dangers, and Zachary's own fears drive him to selfish actions.


Provides Examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Averted. Zachary's amorous interest in Polly is largely one-sided, even before his Face-Heel Turn.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Considering the other adventures the Murrys, even Meg's parents, have been involved in, it seems odd that they initially reject the bishop's claims about time travel. Mr. Murry explains that it was more a matter of pride than anything else.
  • Artistic License - History: Three thousand years ago is said to be the time of Abraham, Gilgamesh, and the Pyramids, all of which took place, or were set, between four and five thousand years ago.
  • Badass Preacher: Bishop Colubra.
  • The Bible: The title of the book comes from Psalm 69:13. Also, there are allusions to the birth and crucifixion of Jesus.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The rescue of Polly, Anaral, and the Bishop by Tav, Karralys, and Louise the Larger. Also, the rescue of Polly by Karralys, Tav, the Bishop, and Louise the Larger in the end.
  • Blood Oath: The final treaty between the People of the Wind and the People Across the Lake involves one of these.
  • Buffy Speak: Zachary, occasionally.
  • Call Back: Several, to each of the Time Quartet novels as well as the O'Keefe family novels, and even to A Ring of Endless Light.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Between modern day people and those of three thousand years ago, especially the People Across the Lake.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Tav, Zachary.
  • Dirty Coward: Zachary.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted. Polly is willing to risk her life to save Zachary, and to heal him later because it's the right thing to do. However, she makes it clear that, even though she would do it again, their friendship is over.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The People Across the Lake are people who live across the lake from the People of the Wind.
  • Generation Xerox: Sort of. Polly has Meg's talents and some of the same issues with her looks, and her brother Charles is somewhat like Charles Wallace, though without the extraordinary abilities.
  • God Guise: The People Across the Lake think Polly is a goddess. This is not a good thing.
  • Happily Arranged Marriage: Klep and Anaral. It helps that they loved each other before this happened.
  • Healing Hands: Cub, Karralys, the healer from the People Across the Lake, Polly.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Zachary.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Tav, Tynak.
  • Heel Realization: Both Zachary and Tav experience this.
  • Honor Before Reason: Polly's reason for risking her life for Zachary.
  • Human Sacrifice: What Tynak and (initially) Tav intend for Polly.
  • Jerk Ass: Zachary.
  • Literal Metaphor: When Tynak is about to sacrifice Polly, the People Across the Lake are literally shouting for blood.
  • Never My Fault: Zachary begs Polly to take him to the time gate, ultimately running toward the star-watching rock, making Polly follow. Later, he blames her for dragging him back to the past.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted.
  • Not So Different: The Bishop maintains this about so-called civilized society, with genocide and nuclear weapons, and the so-called savages of three thousand years ago, who practiced Human Sacrifice.
  • Reconstruction: A Swiftly Tilting Planet reveals the People of the Wind to have lived an idyllic life in Arcadia. This story shows the problems such a life involved and the work needed to be put into living in peace.
  • Time Travel: Of course.
  • Title Drop: The title of the book is mentioned when Bishop Colubra is quoting from Psalm 69:13.
  • Translation Convention
  • Unwanted False Faith: Polly has good reason not to want to be a goddess.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Tynak. Tav, initially.

    Literature of the 1980sAces High
Many WatersFantasy LiteratureWrong Time For Dragons

alternative title(s): An Acceptable Time
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