Perelandra

by

C. S. Lewis

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Ransom, the protagonist of the novel and one of Lewis’s close friends, is a middle-aged Cambridge professor of philology. As a young man, Ransom fought and was wounded in World War I. More recently, he was kidnapped and sent to Mars (Malacandra); while there, he learned the interplanetary language of Old Solar, fell in love with non-terrestrial creatures, and also encountered his nemesis, Weston, for the first time. Now, he is being sent to Venus (Perelandra) for unknown reasons. Ransom is patient, bookish, and kind, with a special love for epic poetry. Though Ransom is inclined to fall into scholarly reveries, he is also observant and alert to the delights and mysteries of the world around him—both on Earth and on other planets. Because of this, he disapproves of Weston’s more imperialistic approach to interplanetary exploration. Ransom is a devout Christian who is honest about his doubts and fears as he struggles to obey Maleldil’s (God’s) commands. On Perelandra, Ransom befriends the Green Lady and talks with her about the fates of their respective worlds and their shared love of Maleldil. Ransom is compassionate toward other people and other creatures, especially those weaker than himself; he doesn’t even wish to harm Weston (whose body has been taken over by some evil force) until Weston’s relentless temptation of the Green Lady makes this unavoidable. After he finally succeeds in destroying Weston’s body, or what he’s named the Un-man, he joins in the celebration of the King’s and Queen’s reign over an incorrupt Perelandra, and they call him the Savior of their world. As a souvenir of his battles with the Un-man, Ransom bears a bleeding wound on his heel for the rest of his life.

Dr. Elwin Ransom Quotes in Perelandra

The Perelandra quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Elwin Ransom or refer to Dr. Elwin Ransom. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Perelandra published in 2003.
Chapter 2 Quotes

“I'll tell you how I look at it. Haven't you noticed how in our own little war here on earth, there are different phases, and while any one phase is going on people get into the habit of thinking and behaving as if it was going to be permanent? But really the thing is changing under your hands all the time, and neither your assets nor your dangers this year are the same as the year before. Now your idea that ordinary people will never have to meet the Dark Eldila in any form except a psychological or moral form—as temptations or the like—is simply an idea that held good for a certain phase of the cosmic war: the phase of the great siege, the phase which gave to our planet its name of Thulcandra, the silent planet. But supposing that phase is passing? In the next phase it may be anyone's job to meet them . . . well, in some quite different mode."

Related Characters: Dr. Elwin Ransom (speaker), Lewis
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

"Do you feel quite happy about it?" said I, for a sort of horror was beginning once more to creep over me.

"If you mean, Does my reason accept the view that he will (accidents apart) deliver me safe on the surface of Perelandra?—the answer is Yes," said Ransom. "If you mean, Do my nerves and my imagination respond to this view?—I'm afraid the answer is No. One can believe in anæsthetics and yet feel in a panic when they actually put the mask over your face. I think I feel as a man who believes in the future life feels when he is taken out to face a firing party. Perhaps it's good practice."

Related Characters: Dr. Elwin Ransom (speaker), Lewis (speaker)
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

He had confidence in those who had sent him there, and for the meantime the coolness of the water and the freedom of his limbs were still a novelty and a delight; but more than all these was something else at which I have already hinted and which can hardly be put into words—the strange sense of excessive pleasure which seemed somehow to be communicated to him through all his senses at once. I use the word "excessive" because Ransom himself could only describe it by saying that for his first few days on Perelandra he was haunted, not by a feeling of guilt, but by surprise that he had no such feeling. There was an exuberance or prodigality of sweetness about the mere act of living which our race finds it difficult not to associate with forbidden and extravagant actions.

Related Characters: Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Such was the refreshment that he seemed to himself to have been, till now, but half awake. When he opened his eyes—which had closed involuntarily at the shock of moisture—all the colours about him seemed richer and the dimness of that world seemed clarified. A re-enchantment fell upon him. The golden beast at his side seemed no longer either a danger or a nuisance. If a naked man and a wise dragon were indeed the sole inhabitants of this floating paradise, then this also was fitting, for at that moment he had a sensation not of following an adventure but of enacting a myth. To be the figure that he was in this unearthly pattern appeared sufficient.

Related Characters: Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

"And do you," said Ransom with some hesitation—"and do you know why He came thus to my world?"

All through this part of the conversation he found it difficult to look higher than her feet, so that her answer was merely a voice in the air above him. "Yes," said the voice. "I know the reason. But it is not the reason you know. There was more than one reason, and there is one I know and cannot tell to you, and another that you know and cannot tell to me."

Related Characters: Dr. Elwin Ransom (speaker), The Green Lady/The Queen/Tinidril (speaker), Lewis (speaker), Maleldil
Related Symbols: Waves
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

"I wonder," said the woman, "if you were sent here to teach us death."

"You don't understand," he said. "It is not like that. It is horrible. It has a foul smell. Maleldil Himself wept when He saw it." Both his voice and his facial expression were apparently something new to her. He saw the shock, not of horror, but of utter bewilderment, on her face for one instant and then, without effort, the ocean of her peace swallowed it up as if it had never been, and she asked him what he meant.

Related Characters: Dr. Elwin Ransom (speaker), The Green Lady/The Queen/Tinidril (speaker), Lewis (speaker), Maleldil
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

“I thought,” she said, "that I was carried in the will of Him I love, but now I see that I walk with it. I thought that the good things He sent me drew me into them as the waves lift the islands; but now I see that it is I who plunge into them with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming. […] It is a delight with terror in it! One's own self to be walking from one good to another, walking beside Him as Himself may walk, not even holding hands.”

Related Characters: The Green Lady/The Queen/Tinidril (speaker), Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom, Maleldil
Related Symbols: Waves
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

He was a man obsessed with the idea which is at this moment circulating all over our planet in obscure works of "scientifiction," in little Interplanetary Societies and Rocketry Clubs […] It is the idea that humanity, having now sufficiently corrupted the planet where it arose, must at all costs contrive to seed itself over a larger area: that the vast astronomical distances which are God's quarantine regulations, must somehow be overcome. This for a start. But beyond this lies the sweet poison of the false infinite—the wild dream that planet after planet, system after system, in the end galaxy after galaxy can be forced to sustain, everywhere and for ever, the sort of life which is contained in the loins of our own species—a dream begotten by the hatred of death[.]

Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

"My dear Ransom," said Weston, "I understand you perfectly. I have no doubt that my phraseology will seem strange to you, and perhaps even shocking. Early and revered associations may have put it out of your power to recognise in this new form the very same truths which religion has so long preserved and which science is now at last rediscovering. But whether you can see it or not, believe me, we are talking about exactly the same thing."

"I'm not at all sure that we are."

"That, if you will permit me to say so, is one of the real weaknesses of organised religion—that adherence to formula, that failure to recognise one's own friends. God is a spirit, Ransom. Get hold of that.”

Related Characters: Professor Weston/Weston’s Body/The Un-man (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom (speaker), Lewis (speaker)
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

"I have said already that we are forbidden to dwell on the Fixed Land. Why do you not either talk of something else or stop talking?”

"Because this forbidding is such a strange one,” said [Weston’s] voice. "And so unlike the ways of Maleldil in my world. And He has not forbidden you to think about dwelling on the Fixed Land. […] [I]n our world we do it all the time. We put words together to mean things that have never happened and places that never were: beautiful words, well put together. And then tell them to one another. We call it stories or poetry. […] It is for mirth and wonder and wisdom.”

"What is the wisdom in it?"

"Because the world is made up not only of what is but of what might be. Maleldil knows both and wants us to know both.”

Related Symbols: The Fixed Land
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

[…] Ransom had as yet seen nothing dead or spoiled in Perelandra, and it was like a blow in the face. […] It was irrevocable. The milk-warm wind blowing over the golden sea, the blues and silvers and greens of the floating garden, the sky itself—all these had become, in one instant, merely the illuminated margin of a book whose text was the struggling little horror at his feet, and he himself, in that same instant, had passed into a state of emotion which he could neither control nor understand. […] It was not merely pity for pain that had suddenly changed the rhythm of his heart-beats. The thing was an intolerable obscenity which afflicted him with shame.

Related Characters: Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

[The smile] seemed to summon Ransom, with horrible naïveté of welcome, into the world of its own pleasures, as if all men were at one in those pleasures, as if they were the most natural thing in the world and no dispute could ever have occurred about them. It was not furtive, nor ashamed, it had nothing of the conspirator in it. It did not defy goodness, it ignored it to the point of annihilation. Ransom perceived that he had never before seen anything but half-hearted and uneasy attempts at evil. This creature was whole-hearted. The extremity of its evil had passed beyond all struggle into some state which bore a horrible similarity to innocence. It was beyond vice as the Lady was beyond virtue.

Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

"And will you teach us Death?" said the Lady to Weston's shape, where it stood above her.

"Yes," it said, "it is for this that I came here, that you may have Death in abundance. But you must be very courageous."

"Courageous. What is that?"

"It is what makes you to swim on a day when the waves are so great and swift that something inside you bids you to stay on land."

"I know. And those are the best days of all for swimming."

"Yes. But to find Death, and with Death the real oldness and the strong beauty and the uttermost branching out, you must plunge into things greater than waves."

Related Symbols: Waves
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

"Your deepest will, at present, is to obey Him […] The way out of that is hard. It was made hard that only the very great, the very wise, the very courageous should dare to walk in it, to go on—on out of this smallness in which you now live—through the dark wave of His forbidding, into the real life, Deep Life, with all its joy and splendour and hardness."

"Listen, Lady," said Ransom. "There is something he is not telling you. […] Long ago, when our world began, there was only one man and one woman in it, as you and the King are in this. And there once before he stood, as he stands now, talking to the woman. […] And she listened, and did the thing Maleldil had forbidden her to do. But no joy and splendour came of it.”

Related Symbols: Waves
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:

If the attack had been of some more violent kind it might have been easier to resist. What chilled and almost cowed him was the union of malice with something nearly childish. For temptation, for blasphemy, for a whole battery of horrors, he was in some sort prepared: but hardly for this petty, indefatigable nagging as of a nasty little boy at a preparatory school. […] On the surface, great designs and an antagonism to Heaven which involved the fate of worlds: but deep within, when every veil had been pierced, was there, after all, nothing but a black puerility, an aimless empty spitefulness content to sate itself with the tiniest cruelties, as love does not disdain the smallest kindness?

Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

She stood like one almost dazed with the richness of a day-dream. She did not look in the least like a woman who is thinking about a new dress. The expression of her face was noble. It was a great deal too noble. Greatness, tragedy, high sentiment—these were obviously what occupied her thoughts. Ransom perceived that the affair of the robes and the mirror had been only superficially concerned with what is commonly called female vanity. The image of her beautiful body had been offered to her only as a means to awake the far more perilous image of her great soul. The external and, as it were, dramatic conception of the self was the enemy's true aim. He was making her mind a theatre in which that phantom self should hold the stage. He had already written the play.

Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

It snapped like a violin string. Not one rag of all this evasion was left. Relentlessly, unmistakably, the Darkness pressed down upon him the knowledge that this picture of the situation was utterly false. His journey to Perelandra was not a moral exercise, nor a sham fight. If the issue lay in Maleldil's hands, Ransom and the Lady were those hands. The fate of a world really depended on how they behaved in the next few hours. The thing was irreducibly, nakedly real. They could, if they chose, decline to save the innocence of this new race, and if they declined its innocence would not be saved. It rested with no other creature in all time or all space. This he saw clearly, though as yet he had no inkling of what he could do.

Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:

Long since on Mars, and more strongly since he came to Perelandra, Ransom had been perceiving that the triple distinction of truth from myth and of both from fact was purely terrestrial—was part and parcel of that unhappy division between soul and body which resulted from the Fall. Even on earth the sacraments existed as a permanent reminder that the division was neither wholesome nor final. The Incarnation had been the beginning of its disappearance. In Perelandra it would have no meaning at all. Whatever happened here would be of such a nature that earth-men would call it mythological. All this he had thought before. Now he knew it. The Presence in the darkness, never before so formidable, was putting these truths into his hands, like terrible jewels.

Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

The pattern is so large that within the little frame of earthly experience there appear pieces of it between which we can see no connection, and other pieces between which we can. […] But step outside that frame and the distinction drops down into the void, fluttering useless wings. He had been forced out of the frame, caught up into the larger pattern. […] Before his Mother had born him, before his ancestors had been called Ransoms, before ransom had been the name for a payment that delivers, before the world was made, all these things had so stood together in eternity that the very significance of the pattern at this point lay in their coming together in just this fashion. And he bowed his head and groaned and repined against his fate—to be still a man and yet to be forced up into the metaphysical world, to enact what philosophy only thinks.

Related Characters: Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

And the dark came. Horror of death such as he had never known, horror of the terrified creature at his side, descended upon Ransom: finally, horror with no definite object. In a few minutes he could see through the jet-black night the luminous cloud of foam. From the way in which it shot steeply upward he judged it was breaking on cliffs. Invisible birds, with a shriek and flurry, passed low overhead.

"Are you there, Weston?" he shouted. "What cheer? Pull yourself together. All that stuff you've been talking is lunacy. Say a child's prayer if you can't say a man's. Repent your sins. Take my hand. There are hundreds of mere boys on Earth facing death this moment. We'll do very well."

Related Characters: Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom (speaker), Professor Weston/Weston’s Body/The Un-man
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

"They want to frighten me," said something in Ransom's brain, and at the same moment he became convinced both that the Un-man had summoned this great crawler and also that the evil thoughts which had preceded the appearance of the enemy had been poured into his own mind by the enemy's will. The knowledge that his thoughts could be thus managed from without did not awake terror but rage. Ransom found that he had risen, that he was approaching the Un-man, that he was saying things, perhaps foolish things, in English. “Do you think I’m going to stand this?" he yelled. "Get out of my brain. It isn’t yours, I tell you! Get out of it." As he shouted he had picked up a big, jagged stone from beside the stream. […]

"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, here goes—I mean Amen," said Ransom, and hurled the stone as hard as he could into the Un-man's face.

Related Characters: Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom (speaker), Professor Weston/Weston’s Body/The Un-man
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

Gender is a reality, and a more fundamental reality than sex. Sex is, in fact, merely the adaptation to organic life of a fundamental polarity which divides all created beings. Female sex is simply one of the things that have feminine gender; there are many others, and Masculine and Feminine meet us on planes of reality where male and female would be simply meaningless. […] Their reproductive functions, their differences in strength and size, partly exhibit, but partly also confuse and misrepresent, the real polarity. All this Ransom saw, as it were, with his own eyes. The two white creatures were sexless. But he of Malacandra was masculine (not male); she of Perelandra was feminine (not female).

Related Characters: Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

The eyes of the Queen looked upon him with love and recognition, but it was not of the Queen that he thought most. It was hard to think of anything but the King. And how shall I—I who have not seen him—tell you what he was like? It was hard even for Ransom to tell me of the King's face. But we dare not withhold the truth. It was that face which no man can say he does not know. You might ask how it was possible to look upon it and not to commit idolatry, not to mistake it for that of which it was the likeness. For the resemblance was, in its own fashion, infinite, so that almost you could wonder at finding no sorrows in his brow and no wounds in his hands and feet.

Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

"So this is hru," he said at last. "I have never seen such a fluid before. And this is the substance wherewith Maleldil remade the worlds before any world was made."

He washed the foot for a long time but the bleeding did not stop. "Does it mean Piebald will die?" said Tinidril at last.

"I do not think so," said Tor. "I think that any of his race who has breathed the air that he has breathed and drunk the waters that he has drunk since he came to the Holy Mountain will not find it easy to die. Tell me, Friend, was it not so in your world that after they had lost their paradise the men of your race did not learn to die quickly?"

"I had heard," said Ransom, "that those first generations were long livers, but most take it for only a Story or a Poetry and I had not thought of the cause."

Related Characters: Lewis (speaker), Dr. Elwin Ransom (speaker), The King/Tor (speaker), The Green Lady/The Queen/Tinidril (speaker)
Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dr. Elwin Ransom Character Timeline in Perelandra

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Elwin Ransom appears in Perelandra. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Late one autumn afternoon, Lewis sets out from the train station to walk to Ransom’s cottage, reflecting on the remarkable man he’s about to see. Ransom, he knows, has visited... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Lewis has received a wire from Ransom requesting that he come down for a visit to discuss “business.” Lewis finds the eldila... (full context)
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
...his bag is miles away, and he’s really just trying to avoid his meeting with Ransom. He thinks about the eldila again. Ransom had explained that Earth has its own eldila,... (full context)
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Briefly, Lewis wonders if Ransom might have been duped—what if something from outer space is trying to invade Earth, and... (full context)
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Lewis finally reaches Ransom’s cottage, but he sees no sign of Ransom. Feeling a heavy reluctance and an almost... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
...the smooth, cold object, unable to determine what it is. Then he thinks he hears Ransom’s voice, but it doesn’t exactly sound human; it sounds more like a musical instrument, or... (full context)
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Lewis’s earlier fears about the eldils and about Ransom fade, but he’s still uneasy. He senses that the creature in the cottage is “good,”... (full context)
Chapter 2
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Ransom lights a candle, allowing Lewis to recognize the object he’d tripped over as a large,... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
As they get supper, Ransom explains that the coffin is his vehicle for the journey into space. He’s not returning... (full context)
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Ransom points out that the Bible refers to people having to fight “principalities and powers.” Lewis... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Ransom’s selection for this task, he says, is not for any special reason. It’s probably because,... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Now Ransom explains that it’s Lewis’s job to pack Ransom into the coffin and then stand by... (full context)
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
...the rest of the night going over practical details to be taken care of in Ransom’s absence. Lewis is presented to the Oyarsa and “sworn in.” Then they lug the big... (full context)
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
...year later—a year filled with war and cruelties—Oyarsa comes to Lewis. Then he and Humphrey, Ransom’s trusted doctor, find themselves once again in Ransom’s garden. The casket descends from the sky... (full context)
Chapter 3
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Ransom never says much about his journey to Perelandra, only revealing that his experiences were not... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
...as a whole seems to be filled with a rich sensory pleasure that, on Earth, Ransom would normally associate with a feeling of guilt. Here, though, there’s no sense of excess.... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
As the rain and waves subside, Ransom, exhausted, notices something like a floating island and swims toward it. Grabbing a trailing vine,... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Eventually Ransom reaches a kind of forest, whose rich scent prompts an almost enjoyable hunger and thirst,... (full context)
Chapter 4
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
When Ransom wakes up, at first he thinks he’s dreaming. A small, reddish-gold dragon is curled around... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
The seas are calm. Ransom cautiously tries addressing the dragon in Old Solar, introducing himself and asking if he’s welcome.... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom explores one of the many shimmering, spherical objects hanging from the nearby trees. When he... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom resists the desire to go through an entire cluster of the refreshing bubbles—rather he feels... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
After a satisfying meal of berries, Ransom wonders what he’s been sent here to do. Knowing he’s part of a bigger plan,... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Gradually, Ransom figures out that the other human-like figure might see him while he’s on the crest... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom sees that the green lady is accompanied by all sorts of beasts and birds, which... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
When Ransom next looks at the Green Lady’s face, she appears perfectly poised and calm. Noticing that... (full context)
Chapter 5
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
After an exhausted sleep, Ransom awakes to fresh daylight. To his surprise, he sees that several islands have drifted together... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
...Green Lady says that yesterday, she was young, and she didn’t know that people of Ransom’s world don’t like to be laughed at. She explains that she gets “older” each day.... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom asks the Green Lady what she knows of other worlds, since Perelandra’s sky is so... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom is puzzled that the Green Lady looks so much like an earthly woman, even though... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Hesitating, Ransom asks if the Lady knows why Maleldil came to Earth. He feels ashamed to look... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom sleeps a while and then wakes to find the dragon and a furry yellow wallaby... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom asks the Green Lady if she knows for what purpose Maleldil has sent him to... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
When the Green Lady understands that Earth contains many more of Ransom’s kind, she instructs Ransom to convey her greetings to his own Mother. Ransom admits that... (full context)
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom points out that when the Green Lady first saw him, she reacted with disappointment. She... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Ransom begins to find the Green Lady’s words a bit off-putting. The Lady notices his frown... (full context)
Chapter 6
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Even after the Green Lady leaves, Ransom continues to feel the weight of someone else’s presence, as he’d first noticed during their... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
The island on which Ransom is floating is drifting near a large, craggy, mountainous piece of land—fixed land, he realizes.... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Fear, Adventure, and Will Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
...Fixed Land in search of him and summons the silver fishes to carry them there. Ransom copies her in mounting and riding a fish, and the rest of the fish follow... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
They reach the Fixed Land, and Ransom is delighted to find it similar to the terrestrial world he knows, including a deep... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
From the top of the island, Ransom and the Green Lady examine the sea and the surrounding islands. A couple of miles... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Ransom realizes this is why he was sent to Perelandra. Weston failed to achieve his goals... (full context)
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
Ransom tells the Green Lady that, in his world, an eldil didn’t consider it joyful but... (full context)
Chapter 7
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Weston stands there scowling authoritatively, as if he belongs here, and Ransom can’t help admiring the man’s egoism. He’s then shocked to hear Weston addressing the Green... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Temptation and the Nature of Evil Theme Icon
But when Ransom begins to follow the Lady off the island, Weston stops him by holding up a... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Ransom is inclined to laugh at Weston’s arrogance, but he figures that any show of humility,... (full context)
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
...goal now is the forward movement of spirituality. He works for “Spirit”—or, to use language Ransom might prefer, the Holy Spirit. When Ransom asks for clarification, Weston claims that there’s really... (full context)
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Ransom objects that for a Christian like himself, “blind, inarticulate purposiveness” is not at all what’s... (full context)
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...or “spontaneity,” which he claims is the goal toward which the entire cosmos is moving. Ransom asks if this “spirit” is personal in any way. In response, Weston assumes a secretive... (full context)
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Ransom cautions Weston that not all “spirits” are good. Christians worship God, he explains, because they... (full context)
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Ransom says that if Weston really means all this, then it seems to him a terrible... (full context)
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Ransom ponders how far this really goes. If this “Life-Force” told him to, would Weston murder... (full context)
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Ransom seizes on this point, trying to find common ground in the shared sense of “commitment”... (full context)
Chapter 8
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The next day, Ransom wakes up feeling sore and out of sorts, unlike every previous morning on Perelandra. He... (full context)
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When Ransom wakes up, still in darkness, he hears a man and woman speaking nearby. It’s Weston... (full context)
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...Maleldil is “letting go of [her] hand a little”—by introducing new ideas to her through Ransom and himself instead of through himself or through the King, he’s “making [her] older.” Maleldil,... (full context)
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Listening all this time, Ransom notices that Weston’s tone has sounded oddly unlike himself—too patient and persistent. The figure speaking... (full context)
Chapter 9
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The next day, Ransom wakes alone, to calm seas. As he walks peacefully along the beach, he suddenly comes... (full context)
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Ransom feels that the creature must be put out of its misery, but the task takes... (full context)
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Whatever it is, the figure that looks like Weston smiles at Ransom. Though Ransom has seen a “devilish” smile before, this is something different. It’s not merely... (full context)
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Weston, or the thing that looks like Weston, is gone, so Ransom goes in search of it. He’s shaking, and he doesn’t know what to do when... (full context)
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...“older,” or wiser. He claims this is how earthly women have become great and beautiful. Ransom interjects, urging the Lady not to listen to this. When the Lady finally looks at... (full context)
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While Ransom is struggling with how to explain the idea of “bad” or “evil” to the Lady,... (full context)
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The Lady replies that, in that case, they must simply make Ransom older. She asks Weston’s body if he will teach her “Death,” and he replies that... (full context)
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Ignoring Ransom, Weston assures the Lady that Maleldil wants her to learn not directly from His own... (full context)
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When Ransom interrupts again, the Lady agrees to hear him out. Ransom argues that Maleldil has established... (full context)
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...obey Maleldil, only the great and courageous venture beyond this, into a deeper, harder life. Ransom warns the Lady that all this has been tried before in his own world—the first... (full context)
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...original disobedience, Maleldil would never have come to earth and become man. Though momentarily shaken, Ransom agrees with this. Maleldil, after all, can make good out of anything. But the original... (full context)
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Ransom turns to Weston and asks if he is happy that Maleldil became a human being.... (full context)
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After hours of sitting silently, the Un-man speaks: “Ransom,” it says. When Ransom asks what it wants, it replies, “Nothing.” It then proceeds to... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Ransom can’t stay awake indefinitely. Eventually, he falls asleep and wakes to hear Weston speaking to... (full context)
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A rainstorm begins, and during a flash of lightning, Ransom gets a glimpse of the Lady’s face as she listens to Weston. She looks somehow... (full context)
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The next few days continue in much the same way. Though Ransom stays awake as much as he can, he often dozes and wakes to hear Weston’s... (full context)
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Little by little, Ransom begins to understand the Un-man’s strategy. So far, the Lady’s sense of duty is still... (full context)
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One morning, Ransom finds the Un-man and the Lady dressed in robes made of bright feathers, wearing crowns... (full context)
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...isn’t long, though, before the Lady’s startled expression gives way to a noble one. Then Ransom knows that Weston’s goal was not just to make the Lady admire her outward appearance... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Ransom is sure that the Lady’s resistance will be worn down eventually. He wonders why Maleldil... (full context)
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Ransom wonders what else he can possibly do to stop the Un-man—his arguments have failed over... (full context)
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It suddenly occurs to Ransom that he might be called upon to physically fight the Un-man, which perhaps terrifies him... (full context)
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As Ransom continues to engage in mental arguments, the Presence silently waits. Ransom realizes that the story... (full context)
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Ransom wonders how a middle-aged scholar like himself could possibly defeat an immortal enemy. He figures... (full context)
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The Voice of Maleldil tells him, “It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom.” Though this seems like a mere pun to Ransom—whose name derives from “Ranolf’s son”—he realizes... (full context)
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Ransom comes to understand that, if he fails in his task, Maleldil will redeem Perelandra in... (full context)
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Ransom feels no reassurance from Maleldil to relieve him of this thought. Yet, gradually—even as he... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Ransom wakes the next morning feeling fully alert and as physically sound as he’s ever been.... (full context)
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Ransom had expected the Un-man to be much stronger. He realizes that it’s just “one middle-aged... (full context)
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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,... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Night falls, and Ransom sleeps on his fish’s back as best he can. Once, he wakes up and sees... (full context)
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Absorbed in these thoughts, Ransom is startled when Weston’s body speaks to him; its fish is moving towards him. Weston’s... (full context)
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Weston tells Ransom it’s all very well for him not to fear death. But Weston knows death is... (full context)
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Ransom tries to argue with Weston, but Weston argues that even reasoning is only valid within... (full context)
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...rocky coast, and he’s terrified that they will crash into it in the growing darkness. Ransom, too, feels an overpowering, indefinite horror. Yet he tries vainly to cheer Weston, telling him... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Ransom is so desperate for air that he almost just lets go, observing, almost abstractedly, that... (full context)
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Ransom decides to wait until the morning to examine the body by daylight, so he passes... (full context)
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Eventually, the stream leads Ransom toward a reddish, dim light. The light comes from an upper cavern, accessed by a... (full context)
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Ransom is angry, realizing that the Un-man is trying to frighten him, both with the despairing... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Ransom travels through the seemingly endless cavern in a dreamlike, weary daze, expecting death at any... (full context)
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Eventually, as Ransom returns to consciousness, he sees that the turf on which he’s sitting slopes downward to... (full context)
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When he descends into the forest below, Ransom finds it inhabited by little, bee-sized mammals like horses. He decides to pursue the source... (full context)
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Ransom begins climbing into the mountains again, without weariness or loneliness, feeling content except for the... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Ransom hears the eldils speaking in their bell-like voices and realizes that one of them is... (full context)
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...“sit in the throne of what they were meant to be”—an unprecedented thing. At this, Ransom nearly faints. (full context)
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...to make it easier for them to be seen. They try out various forms on Ransom. At first these are rather horrifying—pillars of eyes, pulsing flames, and other alarming figures—and Ransom... (full context)
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...neither of them has sexual characteristics, there is a discernible difference between the eldila which Ransom is nevertheless powerless to describe. He grasps at it by saying, for example, that Malacandra... (full context)
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...by this time, making a great noise—presided over by four of the dog-like singers that Ransom had seen back in the forest. All the creatures arrange themselves expectantly; it feels like... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Ransom, too, falls before the King and Queen, calling them his Father and his Mother. It’s... (full context)
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Ransom is so lost in wonder that he almost misses what the Oyarsa of Perelandra is... (full context)
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The King speaks again, saying that their children will always speak of Ransom, and he tells Ransom that in a certain sense, he is their Lord, because he... (full context)
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...different way, not as the Evil One wanted them to learn. The Queen learned as Ransom saw, and the King’s journey was a separate one of learning from Maleldil on a... (full context)
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...be seen. At that time, Maleldil will make them different creatures, something like eldila. When Ransom asks if that will be “the end,” Tor is surprised. Rather, he explains, they will... (full context)
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Ransom is baffled by all this. He had always understood that when Maleldil became man, that... (full context)
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At this point, the five of them—the eldila, the King and Queen, and Ransom—enter into a series of speeches. They speak of the Great Dance which has always existed;... (full context)
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Ransom thinks that, at this point, he didn’t just hear but actually saw a glimpse of... (full context)
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The Queen says that soon the eldila will be coming to take Ransom back to his world. The King notices Ransom’s bleeding foot and insists on washing it... (full context)