Out of the Silent Planet Analysis

  • In Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis depicts an almost idyllic society on the planet of Malacandra, known to Earthlings as Mars. On Malacandra, three races live in perfect harmony under the rule of the benevolent spirit Oyarsa. Lewis contrasts the happiness on Malacandra with the turmoil on Thulcandra, or Earth, where racism has led to widespread discord.
  • Out of the Silent Planet is the first book is C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy. In it, he employs many common science fiction tropes: the use of space travel, the discovery of extraterrestrial life, and the difficulty of communicating with alien races, to name a few. Lewis' depiction of alien society may seem simplistic in its harmony, but it contrasts will with the evil on Earth, as represented in the figures of Weston and Devine.
  • C. S. Lewis invented a new language spoken by the inhabitants of Malacandra. This language is shared by all three races on the planet and allows for harmonious interactions between residents. Weston's inability to speak the language with any fluency makes him a laughable figure and underscores his contempt for aliens.

Analysis

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Setting

Thulcandra

Thulcandra. Martian name for Earth, meaning “Silent Planet,” where the narrative begins and ends. Ransom, a Cambridge philologist, is a solitary bachelor starting out on a walking tour, savoring the charms of his native England. Like a classic epic, this tale begins and ends on the native green. Before Ransom has gone far, he is hijacked to Mars by two villains he knows. While on his adventure, Ransom discovers that Thulcandra is presided over by a perverted Oyarsa (demoniac being), who has revolted against Maleldil the Younger (Christ), and therefore has been placed under planetary quarantine. Though Ransom clearly sees why the universe must be protected from the poisonous practices of Earth, when given the opportunity, he does not hesitate to return home.

Decades before the first photos of Earth from space were made, Lewis provided a vivid and accurate description of the planet as seen from Mars. Even as he views that radiant agate ball hanging in the sky, Ransom nostalgically tries to spot England and thinks of the tiny plot where he left his backpack.

Malacandra (Mars)

Malacandra (Mars). Martian name for their own planet. While epic adventures, such as the hnakra (vicious monster) hunt take place, suggesting that not all is paradisiacal on this planet, Ransom discovers that three intelligent species live here in harmony, with a neat division of tasks. These are the intellectual sorns, the...

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