Out of the Silent Planet

by C. S. Lewis

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In Out of the Silent Planet, how did Ransom form and overcome his preconceptions about Malacandra?

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In C.S. Lewis's science-fiction novel Out of the Silent Planet, Ransom's preconceptions about Malacandra arise from the manner of his arrival there. He is drugged and kidnapped by Devine, a man he had known at school and had always disliked, and the brutal materialist Weston. He hears them discussing that he is to be offered up as a human sacrifice to the inhabitants of Malacandra.

In these circumstances, it is scarcely surprising that Ransom is repelled and terrified by the little he hears of Malacandra. He reflects,

Out of this heaven, these happy climes, they were presently to descend—into what? Sorns, human sacrifice, loathsome sexless monsters. What was a sorn? His own role in the affair was now clear enough. Somebody or something had sent for him. It could hardly be for him personally. The somebody wanted a victim—any victim—from Earth.

When Ransom reaches Malacandra, he soon meets the hross Hyoi and stays in his community, learning the language and observing what life is like there. He gradually discovers that the civilization of the hrossa, though it lacks technical sophistication, is essentially benign and cultivated, with a particular appreciation for poetry and music. This culture does not in any way reflect the debased characters and values of the men who brought him to Malacandra.

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