Perelandra

by

C. S. Lewis

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Perelandra: Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ransom travels through the seemingly endless cavern in a dreamlike, weary daze, expecting death at any time. At one point, a river carries him to a shallow pool, and then he emerges onto soft turf at the mouth of the cavern. He spends days or weeks alternately sleeping and, when awake, eating clusters of grapelike fruits he finds nearby. All the time, he hears a mysterious, birdlike song overhead.
As Ransom escapes the cave, he undergoes a kind of rebirth, with Perelandra itself restoring his spent strength.
Themes
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Eventually, as Ransom returns to consciousness, he sees that the turf on which he’s sitting slopes downward to a wooded valley, and beyond that lie steep red mountains. Golden mists drift above it all. During this time, Ransom’s body steadily heals, except for a wound on his heel that won’t stop bleeding. But he doesn’t feel inclined to worry about the future. One day, he carves an epitaph for Weston into the translucent wall of one of the cliffs. A few days later, he’s ready to set out.
Ransom continues to let Perelandra nurture him back to health, and the planet regains the sense of wonder for Ransom that it had lost during his ordeal with Weston. His bleeding heel seems to be a reference to Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This biblical reference has traditionally been interpreted to refer to the Redeemer (an offspring of Eve) who would someday bruise Satan’s head, though he himself would also suffer (“bruise his heel”).
Themes
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
When he descends into the forest below, Ransom finds it inhabited by little, bee-sized mammals like horses. He decides to pursue the source of the singing, and after much cautious hunting, he comes upon a massive, black, doglike creature sitting on its haunches and singing joyfully. When it sees Ransom, it darts away at first but then allows itself to be petted, only to bashfully bury its head in its paws. Ransom stops following it, and as he goes on his way, he hears it singing even more joyfully than before.
As he did when he first arrived on Perelandra, Ransom enjoys the wonder and uniqueness of this beautiful planet. The happiness of its creatures demonstrates that its innocence and incorruption have, thanks to Ransom, been preserved.
Themes
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom begins climbing into the mountains again, without weariness or loneliness, feeling content except for the wound in his heel. Finally, he sees a secretive-looking pass through the near mountains and feels compelled to enter it. In the pass he finds a valley with a pure pool in its center. Near the edge of the pool sits something coffin-like, and he suddenly realizes—with a feeling of grief—that it’s the ship in which he is to return to Earth. Then, a strange feeling pervades the atmosphere, and Ransom realizes he is in the presence of two eldila.
Ransom, fully restored and victorious in his task on Perelandra, can now return to Earth. The eldila, noticeably absent from Perelandra during Ransom’s time there, appear once more.
Themes
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
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