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The Arm of the Starfish Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Posted by j128 in Science Fiction.

The Arm of the Starfish

The Arm of the Starfish

The Arm of the Starfish, by American author Madeleine L’Engle, best known for her novel A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1965.


Adam Eddington is an American sixteen-year-old, going on seventeen, just finished high school, and is a marine biology student. He is going to Portugal to work as an assisstant for Dr. O’Keefe, a marine biologist. While waiting at the airport, after having his flight postponed for the third time due to fog, he meets a young woman Caroyln Cutter, a.k.a. Kali.

Kali fills Adam full of suspicion about Dr. O’Keefe, as well as Canon Tallis and Polly, Dr. O’Keefe’s daughter who is in the care of Canon Tallis at the moment. She warns Adam to be careful and that she will be seeing Adam soon, hopefully.

The O’Keefe family, as Adam finds out despite his planted suspicions by Kali, are actually very nice. There is Dr. O’Keefe, Mrs. O’Keefe, their children (in order of age) Polyhymnia or Polly, Charles, Sandy, Dennys, Peggy, Johnny, and Rosebud or Rosy, although Rosebud was baptized as Mary.

Dr. O’Keefe is working on starfish, studying the mystery of how starfish regrow a lost arm. Dr. O’Keefe is studying starfish because in the evolutionary scale human beings come almost directly from the starfish. As Adam explains, “Man is a member of the phylum Chordata, and we developed directly from the phylum Echinodermata, or the starfish. We both had an interior spinal column and the same kind of body cavities.” Dr. O’Keefe’s intentions are perhaps that discovering more about the starfish could also benefit mankind.

The Arm of the Starfish is like Madeleine L’Engle’s other works: centred around family life, science, and love. In Starfish Mrs. L’Engle also weaves in mystery, where Adam has to choose which side he is on: the O’Keefes or the Cutters. It is up to him.

Want to know more? Read the book!

Read More

A Wrinkle In Time



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