Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet Postscript Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The postscript includes excerpts of letters from Dr. Ransom to Lewis. They describe certain corrections that Dr. Ransom wanted made to the manuscript, as Dr. Ransom felt that Lewis was not able to include enough detail about the language and sensory experiences of Malacandra. Dr. Ransom laments that the reader cannot know the hrossa as Dr. Ransom did after his time living with them. He adds further information about the agriculture and living spaces of the hrossa and explains the relationship between the hrossa and the other hnau species—somewhere between the relationship of men to men of other nations and the relationship of men to pets.
The excerpts from the letters also are presented to substantiate Lewis’s claim that this novel is real. Claiming that the Malacandrian adventure truly happened also indirectly supports the religious lessons that Lewis included in the book. Returning to the idea of the hnau, Lewis again suggests that humans should open their minds outside their own perspective and accept other cultures and other beings.
Themes
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Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Dr. Ransom apologizes that he was not able to find out more about the varieties of hrossa or sorns, or the pfifltriggi at all. He rejects the idea, which Lewis has apparently suggested, of faking an episode in the homeland of the pfifltriggi, on the basis that he “can’t imagine myself explaining it to Oyarsa.” But he does explain that the pfifltriggi live in the craters of Mars, which used to be ocean beds.
Ransom keeps to the ideals of Oyarsa, believing that it is better to be truthful even in this fictional account, so that he does not misrepresent the Malacandrians or their ruler. Lewis continues to add details about the “real” Mars to make the novel seem more authentic.
Themes
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Dr. Ransom turns to one of Lewis’s questions from an earlier letter: whether Augray equated superior beings with non-corporeal bodies when Augray described the light-bodied eldila. Dr. Ransom denies this idea completely, but does wonder how the eldila were able to speak without any organs with which to vibrate air. He offers the theory that eldila do not speak at all, but simply manipulate the ears of those who “hear” them. Dr. Ransom then mentions that Oyarsa seemed to consider the Earthly notion of “angels” as something different than himself, though it was unclear whether Oyarsa thought angels were a completely different type of being, or a special warrior caste of the Oyarsa meant to help the war conditions on Earth.
The character Lewis’s question about subtler bodies gets at the heart of where the eldila get their authority. The eldila are not given control over the hnau simply because they have faster bodies, but because they are the natural link between the hnau and the gods. The hnau of Malacandra do not listen to the eldila because they are forced to, but because this is the proper way of the universe. Lewis (the author) disrupts the natural connection between eldila and angels, keeping the Christian allusions in his novel from becoming too explicit yet leaving open the idea that Earthly angels might also be real.
Themes
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Related Quotes
Dr. Ransom then shares two scenes of Malacandra that have always stayed with him. One is at dawn as Ransom observes a group of hrossa walking down to the edge of the lake, singing a ritual song that sends three elderly hrossa on their journey to Meldilorn to die. This is a solemn occasion, but not a sad one, as these hrossa have always known that this would be the year of their death and are able to go to this next stage of being without dread.
Ransom is especially struck by the hrossa’s calm demeanor surrounding death. Without the fear and uncertainty of when one is going to die and what happens after death, this natural part of life becomes nothing but another stage in the lifecycle of the hrossa. It is a ritual that brings the community together, rather than splitting apart relationships and causing needless pain as it does on Earth.
Themes
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Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
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The other scene Ransom remembers is bathing with Hyoi one night. He looks up from the lake to see the entire Milky Way illuminated in the sky, until this belt of twinkling lights is broken by the rise of an immense glowing disc. This planet is known to the hrossa as “great Meldilorn” and “the center,” and is thought to be home to an even greater type of creature than the hnau (though it is specifically not the home of Maleldil). Dr. Ransom then signs off, telling Lewis that he is still looking for further mentions of this mythology in the writings of the old astronomers and philosophers.
Lewis leaves the question of why Jupiter, the planet known as “great Meldilorn” is so important. The allusion to Meldilorn, the home of Oyarsa on Malacandra, suggests that Jupiter has some significance to the eldila and again emphasizes humanity’s small place in a grand universe. Lewis also suggests that Ransom continues to learn more about this spirituality—and that readers too can deepen their understanding through more study and reflection on the old philosophers and the ideas of Christianity.
Themes
Christian Imagery and Thought  Theme Icon
Civilization and Utopia Theme Icon
Human Nature and Morality Theme Icon
Acceptance and Curiosity vs. Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon