Out of the Silent Planet


C. S. Lewis

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Out of the Silent Planet: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Ransom wakes up feeling much better, hoping that he can master his own fear. Over the course of the day, the temperature in the space ship drops and the light seems to change. Ransom can’t call it “darkening” because the quality of light remains the same—it is simply half as much light with the same intensity. Ransom goes to the kitchen and tries to explain this to Devine, but Devine just laughs. Weston comes in to the kitchen and explains that they are entering Malacandra’s gravitational pull, and all three men soon feel sick at the return of their body weight. They get dressed in warmer clothes to prepare for Malacandra’s cold climate.
Lewis adds in a philosophical aside about the properties of light in heaven, suggesting that it can be lessened without losing its integrity. This also applies to Lewis’s conception of God, as a trinity who is always entirely itself, yet can be split into the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost without losing any of the properties of God. Devine and even Weston again have no time for these spiritual thoughts and focus only on the physical needs of their human bodies.
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Ransom mourns the loss of the heavenly light as they enter Malacandra’s atmosphere. Ransom realizes that he can never again think of space as devoid of life. Instead the planets seem to be dark, heavy gaps in the living brightness of the heavens. He wonders if beyond the solar system is the true void, or if there is another level of brightness and life even better than the heavens. The ship lands on Malacandra with Ransom still stuck in these philosophical thoughts.
Ransom once feared space, but now loves it so much that it is the planet he fears. His vision of heaven as the source of all life also opens the door to Lewis’s belief in the Christian Heaven as the home of God, the creator of the universe—and to the more general idea of God’s creation as inherently beautiful, surprising, and vast. The thought of another level of brightness also suggests the “next world,” or a spiritual heaven where believers would go when they die.
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