C. S. Lewis Long Fiction Analysis
The happy fact of C. S. Lewis’s creation of long fictional works is that the more of them he wrote, the better he became as a novelist. This is not to say that with each book from Out of the Silent Planet to Till We Have Faces he measurably improved, but from the early Space Trilogy (1938-1945) through the Narnia tales (1950-1956) to his last novel, there is a clear change in Lewis’s conception of fiction. In the early books, characters exemplify definite sides in an ethical debate, and plot is the working out of victory for Lewis’s side. In the later books, however, character becomes the battleground of ambiguous values, and plot takes place more and more within the minds of the characters.
The Space Trilogy
The hero of the Space Trilogy, Cambridge don Elwin Ransom, is often less theprotagonist of novels than an embodiment of the Christian and intellectual virtues that Lewis recommended in his essays. Throughout the trilogy, Ransom represents Lewis’s ideal of the relentless intellectual, his learning solidly founded on respect for great ideas from earlier ages, who valiantly maintains his integrity despite the powerful temptations posed by modern materialism. In both Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra—Ransom’s journeys to Mars (Malacandra) and Venus (Perelandra), respectively—Ransom’s adversary is as clearly villainous as Ransom himself is heroic. The antagonist is Edward Weston,...
(The entire section is 3392 words.)
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