Out of the Silent Planet


C. S. Lewis

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Out of the Silent Planet: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Ransom wakes again with a horrible headache in a bed in a very warm, dark room. He looks up to find a window with the stars outside pulsing more brilliantly than he has ever seen. Ransom feels his head again, thinking that the drug must have affected his vision. Yet then a huge silver orb begins to move into the frame of the window. Ransom thinks that it must be the moon, though it is never appeared so large before.
Ransom has been thrust immediately into the unknown. Here, space appears as a scary, threatening place, with a moon that approaches to attack Ransom in his safe, womb-like room. The hot, dark chamber is the starting place for Ransom’s rebirth as a person.
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In the light of the strangely large moon, Ransom inspects his room. The walls seem to rise at a slant so that the ceiling is wider than the floor. Ransom gets up from the bed and feels oddly light, and then has the strange idea that he has died and is now a ghost. Ransom walks around the room, noting that it is made entirely of metal and seems to be vibrating. Soft raps hit the walls and ceiling at random intervals, making Ransom think of missiles during the war, and Ransom becomes more frightened than he has ever been.
As Ransom keeps investigating his new surroundings, his overwhelming emotion is fear. This fear will continue to dominate Ransom’s reaction to most of the unfamiliar things he encounters throughout the book. Lewis hints at Ransom’s experience in WWI, suggesting that the war may have contributed to Ransom’s fear of the unknown.
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Ransom sits on the bed again, staring at the moon and realizing that his room is moving quickly away from the orb. Suddenly he remembers that he shouldn’t be able to see the new moon tonight. Before he can put together what is going on, a door opens to reveal a brilliant light and Weston’s naked silhouette. Ransom breaks down in sobs, asking Weston what the silver orb is. Weston answers that the orb is the Earth.
Though Weston has already proved to be untrustworthy, Ransom is still glad to see a familiar thing amid this strange experience. Ransom reacts how most people would to finding that they are inexplicably in space, and Lewis does not condemn Ransom for being scared at this moment.
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