Perelandra

by

C. S. Lewis

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Perelandra: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ransom wakes the next morning feeling fully alert and as physically sound as he’s ever been. He enjoys a refreshing breakfast and admires the sleeping form of the Lady for what he assumes will be the last time. Then he goes in search of his Enemy. Most of Perelandra’s creatures appear to have been cast into a deep sleep, but when he finally encounters the Un-man, he finds Weston’s body strangling a bird. Without a thought, he punches the Un-man’s jaw.
Maleldil is apparently protecting his creatures’ innocence by preventing them from seeing what’s going to happen. This also seems to remove any further pretense in Ransom’s behavior—he can’t stand Weston’s wanton cruelty and will put a stop to it by any means necessary.
Themes
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
The Un-man taunts Weston for daring to fight him. Many have believed that God would help them, he says, but God couldn’t even help himself. The Un-man quotes Christ’s words on the cross: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” Ransom realizes that the Un-man isn’t just quoting, but remembering. This sickens Ransom, giving the Un-man time to attack. Soon they’re locked in a slow, seemingly endless grappling, interrupted by occasional scratching and tripping.
The Un-man gains the upper hand by mocking Christ’s dying words in Aramaic (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”), which the demonic being inhabiting Weston apparently heard in person. This is a horrible offense to Ransom, being yet another wanton mockery of innocence.
Themes
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Ransom had expected the Un-man to be much stronger. He realizes that it’s just “one middle-aged scholar against another,” and that Ransom actually has the physical advantage. They continue alternately boxing and grappling in a drawn-out, delirious fight. At last, when Ransom feels he can go on no longer, he attacks once more with a feeling of pure hatred. He feels he’s no longer attacking a corrupted creature, but corruption itself. He feels joy in finally discovering the purpose of hatred.
Ransom’s hatred is aimed not at Weston’s personality, but at the pure evil that has overtaken him, suggesting that this is the only truly appropriate outlet for pure hatred, which is otherwise evil itself. The fight itself is bloody and brutal, suggesting that pure evil must be overcome in a matter-of-fact, face-to-face way.
Themes
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
The Un-man manages to slip out of his grasp, and soon Ransom is chasing it through the woods, among the peacefully sleeping creatures. Ransom can’t catch up, and eventually they both splash into the sea, where each mounts a waiting fish. The Un-man had not realized that the fish always follow their leader, meaning that the Un-man will never escape Ransom’s sight. Ransom laughs with delight at this. However, it’s a painful ride, as Ransom discovers how mercilessly the Un-man has shredded his body. The strange chase goes on for hours.
The innocence of Perelandra’s creatures works to Ransom’s advantage and against the Un-man. The Un-man can’t just use the fish as he wants, the way he’s used to exploiting other creatures. Instead, he must operate according to Perelandra’s own logic—a triumph of innocence over evil.
Themes
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
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