Out of the Silent Planet

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Out of the Silent Planet Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ransom and Hyoi work on Hyoi’s boat as the other hrossa also prepare for the hunt. Ransom is reminded of war and asks Hyoi if the hrossa ever fight the seroni or pfifltriggi over food or resources. Hyoi is confused why any species would need to fight, when the hrossa would give the other hnau species anything they needed. Ransom asks Hyoi what would happen if the hrossa had more young and needed more food to support a larger population. Ransom is surprised to learn that the hrossa regard the enjoyable process of procreation as something that should only happen once in a hross’s life.
Lewis continues to add evidence that Malacandra is a utopia – a perfect society that functions smoothly without conflict. The lack of war reveals that Malacandra is a communal society, where everything is meant to be shared. The hrossa naturally give to those who have less than they do, seemingly untroubled by the human qualities of selfishness or greed that plague such charity efforts on Earth.
Themes
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Hyoi explains that the hrossa see the entire lifetime as one long process of gaining experiences and remembering them, which is only complete upon a hross’s death. They do not need to do pleasurable things repeatedly, for the pleasure is in remembering happiness, not overindulging in things that bring happiness. Ransom asks if Hyoi has ever wanted to hear an especially good line of poetry again. Hyoi considers this, eventually answering that a hross might yearn, in one sense, to hear a poem again, but that it would be madness to truly yearn for the repetition of a past pleasure.
Lewis again builds on the idea that the hrossa are hard-wired for happiness in a way that humans are not. While humans constantly seek more for themselves, and accrue pleasure however they can, the hrossa accept moderation in all things. Lewis sees this as an immense failing in humans and praises the hrossa for being more sensible about their lives. Lewis separates out two kinds of “yearning,” calling back to the Christian sense of yearning for something (which can be positive) versus coveting something (which is negative).
Themes
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Human Nature and Morality Theme Icon
Ransom asks Hyoi if there are any “bent” hrossa that break these rules about how to enjoy and remember life. Hyoi uncomfortably mentions a legend about a hross who loved two mates, but will not say more. Ransom is incredibly intrigued by the possibility that the hrossa are naturally monogamous, thinking that this species’ instincts have perfected an ideal that remains unattainable for humans. Hyoi reminds Ransom that Maleldil made the hrossa so that they would be happy and not have to yearn for things that would not be good for them.
The hrossa live “perfect” lives, free from the mistakes that trouble so many humans. While Ransom’s idea of civilization means that humans must reject their basic instincts and try to better themselves, the hrossa civilization has already attained everything that civilization seems to stand for. Lewis ascribes the wonderful lives of the hrossa to Maleldil, suggesting that the hrossa were created to be happy, and that something has gone wrong in human life to make them so unhappy.
Themes
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Ransom asks why Maleldil would create the hnakra, if he only wants what is good for the hrossa. Hyoi responds that the hnakra is good - the very danger and excitement of the hnakra and the hunt remind the hrossa how sweet their lives are when the hnakra is gone. It is the duty of the hrossa to hunt the hnakra when it comes too close, but not to wipe out the hnakra completely, so that there is always a reminder of how peaceful the hrossa are in comparison.
Lewis points out that evil still has a place in his perfect world. Without any danger, there is no reason for the hrossa to appreciate how good their lives are. The hrossa must not give in to the hnakra, just as they must not give in to evil choices, but they must remember that the evil is there in order to make good significant.
Themes
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Ransom thinks of Hrikki again, and asks Hyoi who the hrossa are speaking to when they talk to air. Hyoi responds that the hrossa are speaking to eldila, beings of light that “come from Oyarsa” and who can easily be mistaken for a sunbeam. Hyoi is not sure if human eyes can ever see the eldil.
Hyoi presents the question of whether the humans can see the eldil as a physical problem, but it is also a spiritual issue. Ransom cannot see the eldila partly because he refuses to believe that they exist, or perhaps is not yet morally pure enough.
Themes
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