Out of the Silent Planet

Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Out of the Silent Planet, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

C.S. Lewis, a devout Christian for much of his adult life, includes his interpretation of the fundamentals of Christian belief in all his novels. In Out of the Silent Planet, Lewis uses the creative and exciting framework of a science fiction adventure to offer a new way for readers to think of Christianity through his protagonist Dr. Elwin Ransom’s experiences on the new planet Malacandra (Lewis’s name for Mars). Indeed, Lewis sees this…

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In Out of the Silent Planet, Lewis follows the tradition of the travelogue, a genre of literature that includes books such as Utopia or Gulliver’s Travels in which a traveler goes to an exotic, often fantastic society and learns about their culture. These lessons frequently include both a vision of how a perfect community (known as a utopia, after the “perfect” society in Sir Thomas More’s novel of the same name) would function and…

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Lewis wrote Out of the Silent Planet as a response to what he saw as the “dehumanization” of science fiction, that is, the idea that science fiction had become too much about the strange and wonderful technology that authors could dream up and had moved away from exploring mankind’s place in the universe (as had been the focus of science fiction novels such as the work of Jules Verne or H.G. Wells). Due to this…

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As his human characters explore the alien world of Malacandra, Lewis explores the ways in which humankind can either accept things that are different, or lash out in fear of the unknown. While recognizing that discomfort at what is strange is a natural feature of mankind’s animal biology – stemming from the instinct to be careful and keep oneself alive – Lewis argues that life is made more fulfilling and meaningful when humans are able…

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