Profound Insights: Out of the Silent Planet by C.S Lewis
The best book I read in 2010 was Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S Lewis. It is a very small book and inconspicuous. This was the copy I picked up:
To be honest, until this point I had not read anything by C.S. Lewis. I had tried to read the Chronicles of Narnia series more than once, but had never gotten past the first book. This thin little science fiction, however, looked like it might be more palatable, and C.S. Lewis is, after all, considered a master.
It’s difficult for me to relate to you how captured I was by this book. The setting is so vivid that I actually have physical and sensory memories associated with reading it. There are velvety textures, colors and feelings that I associate with these pages, like when I was a child and my grandmother or my teacher was reading me a story and I was seeing every word of it like on a movie screen.
There are also many places in the novel that are very meaningful. I would like to share what I consider to be the most poignant quote of the whole book, but first I’ll set the scene up for you.
The main character, Ransom, is taken against his will to Mars, where he escapes his captors and meets many creatures, the most beautiful of which are the Hnau–a gentle furry mammalian species. He lives with them long enough to learn their language, which is deeply influenced by their poetry.
The following is a quote from a conversation between a Hnau named Hnoi, whom the protag, Ransom, befriends. Hman is their word for Human. This passage really stuck with me–sentences that I wanted to read over and over and share with everyone I knew:
“A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking , Hman, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing . The Seroni could say it better than I say it now. Not better than I could say it in a poem. What you call remembering is the last part of pleasure, as the crah is the last part of a poem. When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we remember it. But sill we know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then–that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it. You say you have poets in your world. Do they not teach you this?”
The quote is from Chapter 7.
The book, Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis, is the first in a trilogy that was later renamed, the Cosmic Trilogy, which includes Perelandra and That Hideous Strength as well. I have not finished reading those, so when I do, look forward to a new Review!
what chapter is this found in?
This is in chapter 7, and I have updated the essay to include that important information. Thank you for your comment!
Stumbled across this post while looking for this quote. I *love* this book, and feel the same way about the quote (wanting to read it over and over and somehow share what it changed inside as I soaked up the meaning). I originally read it in high school, and it triggered a paradigm shift for me on the nature of pleasure and memory – as if it gave me a glimpse of what the puzzle pieces should actually look like when assembled correctly (where before I’d been hopelessly lost in trying to force pieces to fit). I’m so glad you enjoyed it as well! Your description “The setting is so vivid that I actually have physical and sensory memories associated with reading it. There are velvety textures, colors and feelings that I associate with these pages…” is how I felt reading Perelandra (second book in the series).
Hi Jim! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I can’t believe you read this in highschool. Was it for class? I also read the second book, Perelandria, but I still have yet to read the third. I think I’m saving it so I’ll have something good to read when I’m 60! haha!
im trying to write an essay and cant think of a time that Ransom was honest about something that may have benefitted him to lie about. anything you can say to or about that?