Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ransom sinks back to the bed, aware of nothing but his fear. Gradually, Ransom regains his social manners. Ransom asks where they are, and Weston confirms that they are in space. Ransom then asks how and why he has been kidnapped. Weston hesitates, and then explains that they are moving towards “Malacandra” and will arrive in 28 days.
Ransom is not able to fully overcome his fear, but he does remember his social graces enough to speak again. Lewis shows that the demands of civilization are still more important to Ransom than his primal feelings of fear.
Themes
Civilization and Utopia Theme Icon
Human Nature and Morality Theme Icon
Ransom asks if Malacandra is a star, and Weston tells him that Malacandra is the true name of one of the planets in our solar system, according to the inhabitants of Malacandra. Weston refuses to tell Ransom which planet it is in terrestrial terms. Ransom cries that he still doesn’t understand why he was kidnapped. Weston responds that this is Ransom’s fault for sneaking into someone else’s yard, and he becomes disgusted with Ransom for selfishly thinking only of himself, not the greater good of mankind. Ransom comments that Weston himself is being selfish on the part of all humans by sacrificing a human life for the potential good of humanity.
Weston blames Ransom for this situation, suggesting that the comparatively small crime of sneaking into someone’s yard somehow means that Ransom should be punished with kidnapping and a complete loss of his autonomy. Weston carries this further, arguing that no individual’s rights matter in comparison to the needs of “progress” and his ideals of spreading human civilization through the universe. Here Lewis also sets up the mystery of which planet “Malacandra” is.
Themes
Civilization and Utopia Theme Icon
Human Nature and Morality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Weston refuses to talk with Ransom anymore and brings Ransom into another room for breakfast. As he walks, Ransom feels like he is walking over a cliff. Weston explains that the spaceship is spherical, with all the rooms arranged around a hollow metal center so that it feels as though gravity is “down” as it is on Earth. Weston brings Ransom a weighted vest to help with the feeling of lightness and darkened glasses to protect Ransom’s eyes from the bright light of the sun. Ransom comments that this is not what he expected from dark, cold space. Weston smirks, then tells Ransom to stop talking so they can conserve oxygen.
Though Ransom is still afraid and dealing with the many changes that life in space brings, he is also beginning to have his previous assumptions challenged. While he expected space to be cold and dark, qualities associated with evil and an inability to survive, he finds that space is warm and bright, qualities associated with life and health.
Themes
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon