Devine and Weston prepare to leave the space ship, and Ransom’s fears of the death waiting for him on Malacandra return. Devine steps out of the window with a revolver, and then Weston forces Ransom out. Ransom makes sure that the knife he stole is still hidden in his belt and steps out. There is a pink mass all over the ground, springy under Ransom’s feet. He looks around, trying to make sense of the blobs of bright, pale color across the landscape.
Ransom is again forced into an entirely new situation and allows fear to be his dominant response. The three men’s exit from the ship parallels Ransom’s dream of leaving a beautiful garden (the brightness of space) for a dark planet, but this planet is not as threatening as it may first seem, as hinted by the pale colors and rather whimsical vegetation Ransom sees.
Ransom sees a hut built on the shore of what seems to be a lake, and hopes that the Malacandran inhabitants make human-like structures. Devine shatters this illusion by telling Ransom that he and Weston built the hut on their first foray here. Weston forces Ransom to help set up the camp and unpack all their supplies. As Ransom tediously carries boxes back and forth, he is surprised to find that he thinks that Malacandra is pretty, and far more peaceful than the nightmare he expected.
Ransom wants the aliens to be as human-like as possible, so that he does not have to fear them. Yet he is also pleasantly surprised by the peace and beauty of Malacandra, which is again so different from the terrible features he conjured in his mind. When Ransom relaxes enough to not let fear rule him, he is able to enjoy his fascinating new setting even though it’s different from normal life on Earth.
The hut is built on a peninsula with water on three sides. Ransom tries to make out objects on the far shore and thinks that he sees a purple covered hill, thin jagged green spires, and a rose-colored cloud above – all exquisitely beautiful. Ransom turns to the nearer shore and realizes that the purple plants are like seaweed, flimsy and seemingly too frail to support their great height in air instead of water.
The world of Malacandra specifically does not look like Earth, with its strange colors and oddly shaped features, but Lewis carefully describes them in a way that makes it clear that these things are just as good as they appear. This world truly is idyllic.
Devine stops their work for lunch and Ransom forces himself to eat. Weston and Devine are too distracted by constantly searching the horizon in silence. Suddenly, Devine points to six long, thin, white shapes standing in the water. The shapes, which must be sorns, remind Ransom of men painted by “savages” in prehistoric times. Ransom idly wonders how their spindly limbs can remain upright, and then catches a glimpse of the figures’ long, solemn faces. He is gripped by a wild fear and begs Devine to let him go.
Ransom can only see the approaching sorns through his human perspective, tying them back to ancient human fears instead of considering the possibility that the sorns might not actually be threatening. He seems especially concerned that the sorns have human-like faces that are not actually human. Lewis explores how humans are more likely to be intolerant of beings who are almost like themselves, but different enough to pose a threat.
Devine and Weston force Ransom to the water’s edge as Ransom fights to get away. Suddenly, Weston fires his pistol in the air. Ransom then sees a line of foam like a torpedo track speeding across the water towards them. Ransom catches one flash of snapping jaws, then notices that Weston and Devine have loosened their hold in the confusion. Ransom tears away from the other two men and runs as fast as he can into the purple forest.
Lewis distills this struggle between the three men as each man fighting for his own personal survival, none of them considering starting a diplomatic relationship with the sorns. Yet the first sign of any danger on Malacandra does not come from the sorns, but from the creature (later named the hnakra) with the snapping jaw.