Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
That night, Ransom sleeps in a guest house and reflects on the easy peace between all three Malacandrian species. The jokes he had heard during the evening’s dinner made no sense to him, but seemed to please sorn, pfifltrigg, and hross equally. He sleeps, and then wakes early the next morning to the voice of an eldil telling him that Oyarsa has requested his presence. Ransom rises obediently and feels nervous, as before an interview, but not afraid.
Not only do the Malacandrian species get along, but they get more enjoyment out of being together than they do out of keeping the cultures separate. Unlike human cultures that often remain loyal only to their own kind, the Malacandrians seem eager to please all three species. Ransom now regards Oyarsa with feelings of respect for an important figure, not terror of a monster.
Themes
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Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Ransom follows his instincts to the center of the island amid the grove of golden flowers. He sees that the stone avenue is lined with beings of all three Malacandrian species, and he walks to the center of the stones with a sinking heart as the hnau all stare at him. Ransom stops in the center, noticing that the stones are covered with eldila that he still cannot quite see. His mouth goes dry at the thought of giving his testimony to this audience.
Ransom stands trial for all humanity (again presenting him as a Christ-figure), ready to admit that humans have failed to gain the paradise that the Malacandrians already have. He also now shows full respect for the authority of the eldila, considering them the final arbiters of judgment rather than a silly superstition.
Themes
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All the gathered hnau rise and bow their heads as Oyarsa walks up to the avenue of stones. Ransom has no words to describe the figure coming towards him, a solid being made of pure light. The figure stops ten feet from Ransom, then asks Ransom why he is so afraid. Ransom answers honestly that he is afraid of Oyarsa and the fact that he cannot really see Oyarsa. Oyarsa responds that he cannot properly see hnau either, but that they both have much in common as beings made in the image of Maleldil.
Again, the base of Ransom’s fear is that Oyarsa is unknown in both form and character. Oyarsa responds not with fear, but with curiosity and a focus on what they do still have in common. With the phrase “made in the image,” Lewis again recalls the biblical language surrounding the creation of humanity itself, as the first people, Adam and Eve, were said to be made in the image of God.
Themes
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Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Oyarsa tells Ransom that he was the one who sent the sorns that met Ransom his first day on Malacandra, as well as the hnakra to try to bring Ransom to Meldilorn. Oyarsa regrets that Ransom did not listen and only followed Oyarsa’s orders after his friend Hyoi died. Ransom is surprised that Oyarsa was the one who sent for him and asks for the reason. Oyarsa responds that he sent his servants into the heavens to watch for Ransom as he came in the spaceship. Ransom wonders out loud how any being could survive in space, but Oyarsa informs him that space is the true home of the eldila. The only place that is a mystery to the eldila is Thulcandra, the silent planet of Earth.
Oyarsa shows that he has control over both good and evil on Malacandra. While it might seem odd that Oyarsa, a figure of ultimate good, would use the hnakra, a figure that has stood for evil, Lewis uses this choice to show how the Christian God is also said to use all things for his glory – both positive and negative events in the lives of humans. The heavens again appear as the home of all spiritual beings, including the eldila. The presence of the eldila possibly explains why Ransom felt so well there. The fact that there are apparently no eldila on Earth adds to the idea that life on Earth is fundamentally broken in some way.
Themes
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Oyarsa explains that Earth was not always cut off from the heavens, but that the oyarsa of Earth became “bent” many years ago and tried to spoil all the other planets, even causing the desolation of the ancient forests on Malacandra. A great war began and Maleldil drove Earth’s oyarsa, the Bent One, back to Earth and bound him there to the planet. Maleldil continues to wrestle with the Bent One on Earth, but none of the other oyarsas know how the fight is going.
The silence of Earth is now explained through the rebellion of the Bent One, a series of events that closely follows the Christian idea that the angel Lucifer revolted against God and became Satan, the devil. Much Christian thought centers on the battle between Satan and Jesus over the fate of human souls. Yet Lewis frames this in terms of how it affected Malacandra, showing the other negative consequences of the Bent One’s Fall rather than focusing only on the sin of Earth.
Themes
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Related Quotes
Ransom tells Oyarsa that he was kidnapped and brought here by very bent men, full of evil and fear. Oyarsa is aghast that any hnau would bring another of their kind by force. Ransom asks again why Oyarsa wanted him, and Oyarsa tells of how humans first arrived on Malacandra ten years ago and started a settlement. Oyarsa sent a few sorns to greet the humans but the humans proved hostile and afraid. Oyarsa wanted a human to come to him to explain what they were doing on Malacandra, but did not understand that the humans would be so bent as to expect that Oyarsa wanted a human sacrifice. Oyarsa laments the time and effort the humans wasted in going back to Earth and kidnapping Ransom, when they could have made a short journey to Meldilorn and received free rein of Malacandra.
Oyarsa shows how Weston and Devine’s fear harmed themselves and others. If they had trusted the Malacandrians to welcome them with good faith, they would have saved themselves the effort of going back to Earth and avoided Ransom’s traumatic journey. Yet the humans showed their own evil nature by projecting their bad intentions onto the Malacandrians. Human fear and suspicion prevented them from understanding the goodness of Malacandra and causes them to do horrible things to themselves and others.
Themes
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Related Quotes
Oyarsa has two questions for Ransom: First, why the humans have come to Malacandra, and second, how the war between Maleldil and the Bent One is going on Thulcandra. Ransom answers the first by explaining that some humans care only for the gold on Malacandra, while other humans want to destroy the hnau of Malacandra and make this planet another world for humans to live on. Oyarsa is confused that any species would think it could live forever, but Ransom explains that humans do not know the will of Maleldil and should be killed to stop the threat completely. Oyarsa proclaims it a terrible thing to kill someone else’s hnau, and assures Ransom that the eldila can handle any evil Weston and Devine attempt.
Ransom explains how humanity’s evil nature has caused them to exploit Malacandra for their own gain, whether it is material wealth they want or a more long-term goal of giving humans a chance at surviving forever when Earth can no longer support life. Unlike the hrossa, who have complete faith that they will be with Maleldil when they die, humans are unable to accept death because they fear the unknown. Still, Oyarsa shows compassion and acceptance even of broken or “bent” humans, looking more towards rehabilitation than punishment. Lewis speaks through Oyarsa to show God’s mercy on human sinners.
Themes
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Oyarsa asks Ransom again for news of the battle on Thulcandra. Ransom cannot answer, unsure if he can say anything about what happened with the ancient Bent One before humanity even began. Oyarsa apologizes, remembering that the hnau have much shorter lifespans and are easily scared by large numbers. As Ransom tries to speak about what he does know of Earth now, he is interrupted by the arrival of a large party of hrossa.
Part of Ransom’s trouble explaining the effects of the battle between the Bent One and Maleldil is that problems on Earth are no longer considered under a spiritual basis. Most humans seek scientific or cultural explanations for pain on Earth. Meanwhile, Lewis subtly suggests that all suffering on Earth is due to the Bent One (Satan’s) influence.
Themes
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