Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ransom wakes up thinking about another man wandering in the wood who may be able to help him. Ransom practices greeting this man, whispering, “Hullo Ransom,” and then stops as he realizes that he himself is Ransom. He can’t remember who told him not to drink the water, and decides to try it. The water tastes mineral-filled and very refreshing. Steadied by the drink, Ransom puts all thoughts of some other Ransom out of his mind and hopes not to go mad.
Ransom feels so alone on this strange planet that he makes up another human simply to imagine that there is something familiar in these woods. However, Ransom cannot depend on this crutch, but forces himself to confront everything that scares him and begins to trust Malacandra by trying the water. He is rewarded for his curiosity by finding a refreshing drink that will help him survive.
Themes
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Ransom begins walking, stopping every few minutes to remind himself that he is Ransom, and he is the only man in these woods. Hungry, he cuts a piece off one of the purple trees with his stolen knife. He chews it, but it seems more like chewing gum than digestible food. Ransom starts to wander about vaguely looking for food, unable to keep up yesterday’s urgency.
Ransom tries as hard as possible to confront all these new situations logically, reminding himself of who he is and the basics he needs to survive in this place. Lewis suggests that both Ransom’s outlook and some calming property of Malacandra itself keep Ransom from becoming hysterical.
Themes
Human Nature and Morality Theme Icon
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Ransom gets startled when a large multitude of yellow shapes appears around the next group of trees. They are tall, furry, and somewhat giraffe-like, and blink lazily while eating the tops of the purple trees. Ransom is comforted to find that Malacandra has tame animals as well as the dangerous sorns. The giraffe’s feast opens a view to the sky, where Ransom sees the thin, green spires and realizes that they are mountains, rising sharply into the sky. Ransom feels his spirits lift as he gazes at the mountain peaks leaping up towards the heavens.
Ransom is able to see that the giraffe-like creatures mean him no harm, expanding his horizons on what this planet might be like. Yet he still holds on to his irrational fear of the sorns. Malacandra’s association with the heavens continues to put Ransom at ease, considering how happy he was on the journey through space. It suggests that Ransom may learn to be happy on this new planet as well.
Themes
Christian Imagery and Thought  Theme Icon
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Ransom’s heart then drops again as he catches a moving blur out of the corner of his eye and thinks he sees a sorn looking for him. Ransom runs back into the thicket of the forest, clutching his knife and praying that the sorn is alone. He runs downhill and finds himself out of the woods, at the edge of a broad river. He drops to his stomach to rest. Suddenly, a round, black animal bursts out of the water, splashing to the shore ten yards from Ransom. Ransom notices that it looks like an elongated seal, with some otter- and penguin-like features mixed in. Ransom lies perfectly still, past even fear at this point, and calmly hopes that the black animal (later introduced as Hyoi) will not notice him.
Ransom is taking small steps away from fear, but it only takes little things to send him backward again. His default for new experiences is still distrust and suspicion. Like the sorns, this creature has given Ransom no reason to fear it, and Lewis carefully describes the animal in terms of Earthly creatures who are not normally considered dangerous to humans. Yet Ransom is so primed to be scared in this place that he continues to fear every strange thing that crosses his path.
Themes
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
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The black creature (later known as Hyoi) begins to make noises, which Ransom’s linguist ear interprets as speech. Ransom’s entire demeanor changes, as he begins to wonder about the possibility of learning whatever language this creature is speaking. He dreams of unlocking the principle behind language itself through studying this non-human language. Unconsciously, he raises himself up on his elbows and the creature turns to look at him. The two beings stare at each other in silence.
Ransom’s fear is overcome only by his curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Lewis suggests that the desire to learn new things is an important way that humans can break out of their survival instincts, and that it is necessary to listen to these feelings in order to have a more enriching life. Ransom’s interest in this creature’s language opens the door for him to have a positive encounter with the other being. Of course, it’s also helpful that Ransom is a linguist.
Themes
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Ransom carefully gets to his knees and the creature (Hyoi) takes small steps towards Ransom. Ransom wants to run, but his curiosity is too strong. The two beings begin a slow, tense dance back and forth as each advances and retreats in turn. Suddenly, the creature turns and begins to walk away. Ransom yells in English for the being to come back. The creature says something, walks about 20 yards, and picks up a shell like an oyster shell.
Hyoi seems just as tentative of Ransom as Ransom is of Hyoi, suggesting that this is not an aggressive or dangerous creature. Ransom overcomes his initial fear so well that he even calls for the creature to come back, unwilling to let the being go without satisfying his curiosity.
Themes
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
The creature (Hyoi) fills the shell with water from the lake and then holds the shell up to its belly. Ransom is disgusted to think the creature might be urinating, but then realizes that it is adding a few drops of liquid to the shell. The creature drinks from the shell, then refills the shell in the same manner and offers it to Ransom. Ransom drinks from the shell, filled with both attraction and repulsion for the creature.
Ransom has a poor opinion of this other being, yet Hyoi is actually offering a gesture of friendship to Ransom, showing that these creatures have some concept of social manners and civilization, even if it doesn’t look the way Ransom expects.
Themes
Civilization and Utopia Theme Icon
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
The creature (Hyoi) flaps a paw on its chest and says, “hross.” Ransom interprets this as the species’ name and points to his own chest saying, “man.” The hross picks up some soil and says, “handra.” Ransom questions, “Malacandra?” The hross gestures at the whole landscape, confirming that Malacandra is the entire planet. Ransom is thrilled to have this first look at the Malacandran phonetic system, and then pantomimes, eating hoping for some food. The hross invites Ransom to follow him.
Ransom is given his first look at the welcoming nature of the hross, as Hyoi’s first instinct is to teach Ransom about his language and his world. Rather than fearing Ransom, Hyoi seems to have had an initial reaction of careful study followed by complete acceptance of Ransom as a fellow rational creature.
Themes
Civilization and Utopia Theme Icon
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Ransom follows the hross (Hyoi) to a boat, where he is both surprised and happy to see that the boat looks much like a boat on Earth. The hross gets a spongey, orange substance from the boat and cuts a length of it for Ransom to eat. Ransom enjoys the food, but is suddenly overwhelmed by the thought that the hross may be working with the sorns, or may not be as intelligent as it seems. Ransom realizes several days later that the trick to stopping these moments of distrust is to think of the hross as a delightful animal with the gifts of rational thought and speech, rather than a disgusting man with furry features and paws.
Ransom is still comforted by some aspects of the familiar on Malacandra, as he does not yet trust the hross or believe he is safe on this world. Though the hross has still done nothing to harm him, and has even given him food, Ransom shows the suspicious nature of human kind by continuing to wonder if Hyoi is only lulling him into a false sense of security so he can betray him later. Lewis explores the difference between accepting another person as a rough copy of oneself that falls short in some areas, and accepting another person fully on their own merits.
Themes
Human Nature and Morality Theme Icon
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon