The setting of this story takes place on the planet Prelandra, also known as Venus. This planet consists of many floating islands. The islands are quite beautiful, the clouds are purple and the sky is a golden color, the seawater is green and drinkable, from the distance the water looks like glided glass. The islands are not very stable, and they can shake if water hits the mobile islands. All of the islands are mobile, except the main island, which remains stationary. Maledil, the people’s god, forbade them to spend the night on the main island; therefore the inhabitants of Perelandra stay on one of the mobile islands. There are many different types of inhabitants on Perelandra, dragons, exotic fish, possums, and unusual looking birds. Ransom, the books main character, mistook the birds for bat-winged reptiles when he first arrived on Perelandra. The tropical climate provides a pleasant atmosphere on Perelandra, thus allowing the inhabitants to move about freely, basking in the agreeable weather.
The main characters in this story are Ransom, Weston and Lady. Readers will be familiar with Ransom and Weston, both having appeared in the prequel to Perelandra, Out Of the Silent Planet. Ransom has been brought to Perelandra and he does not know why. He supposes that it was to keep a watchful eye on Lady because she is naive and does not understand the concept of evil or deception. Ransom is in his late thirties and is quite handsome, due to the weather on Perelandra, Ransom walks around nude because it is so hot and wearing clothes would be uncomfortable. Ransom receives curious looks due to his “tan.” When he was transported in the coffin, one half of his body was in direct sunlight, which is why one side of his body is very tan and the other side is very white. Ransom’s personality has changed since Out of the Silent Planet, he now lives a moral and godly life and falls under the authority of God.
Weston is a scientist who has come to Perelandra to conquer the planet so that mankind may exist on Perelandra and make Perelandra a civilized planet. Weston is an immoral man who does not believe in organized religion, especially Christianity. Weston believes that he is guided by a supernatural force, that force is really a demon that is corrupting him with false ideas. Weston is convinced by the demon that Weston is God and the universe. Weston makes the mistake of calling the life force to him, when he does this; he becomes possessed by the demon.
While Ransom is the noble hero and Weston is the deranged villain, the role of “damsel in distress” falls upon Lady, the creation of Maledill. Lady’s name remains unknown until the end of the story, her name is Tinidill and she considers herself the queen of Perelandra. Lady is much like a child, because she does not understand evil and the corrupt ways of Weston. She does not understand fear, death, rebellion, murder, pain or peace. When Ransom’s knee begins to bleed due to a fall, Lady wants him to explain why his knee is bleeding and wants to make her knee bleed as well. Maledill tells Lady that she may not make her knee bleed and she stops asking. Lady has allowed herself to fall under Maledill’s authority and believes that he will make her wiser as each day passes, she only knows what Maledill allows her to know and experience. Lady depends on Ransom and Weston to make her wiser in the ways of mankind.
Summary of the Story
The beginning of Perelandra starts out when Oysara asks Ransom to go to the planet Perelandra to help the queen of Perelandra find her missing “husband.” Ransom agrees to go and he is transported in a coffin, leaving one side of his body in darkness and the other side in direct sunlight, giving him an unusual tan. Once Ransom arrives on the planet he finds that Perelandra consists of several floating islands and one large stationary island. Ransom meets the Green Lady, the self proclaimed queen of Perelandra. Weston enters the story by appearing on the same island that Ransom is on. Weston makes it known to Ransom that he is there to help spread human civilization to the planet. Ransom then tries to explain to Weston that he is in error in his thinking and his plans are immoral, Weston disregards Ransom’s warnings and submits himself to a demon, thus making him think that he is God. Weston sees Lady as someone he must dispose of in order to become ruler of Perelandra. Weston then tries to corrupt Lady, so that when she becomes corrupt she will no longer be able to rule Perelandra and he can rule in her place. Ransom sees that Weston is trying to corrupt her and he knows why, Weston has become possessed and power-hungry. Ransom tries to protect Lady from Weston, but Lady can not figure out whom she should listen to, or who is telling her the truth. Ransom then decides he must destroy the creature that is trying to destroy Lady. Maledill causes everyone on the islands to fall asleep except for Ransom. Ransom attacks Weston and Weston runs towards the ocean. Ransom pursues him and catches up with him. The demon inside of Weston seems to have disappeared and Weston is himself again, or so it seems. Weston asks Ransom to care for him because he knows that he is dying. Ransom agrees to care for him and then Weston turns into the creature again. Ransom tries to fight the creature in the ocean and they are dragged by the ocean’s currant to the shores of one of the islands. Ransom climbs a cliff and the creature follows him, and Ransom hurls a rock into the creature’s face and then he pushes the creature over the cliff’s edge and into the water. It was the end of Weston and the vile creature that lived inside of him. Ransom then travels up the mountain and an angel greets him with a flaming sword bidding him to continue on his journey when he is greeted by two eldila. The eldila proceed to tell him that he has saved Perelandra from the horrible fate it would have suffered if Lady had been disobedient to Maledill and followed Weston’s corrupt ways. Ransom is also told that Lady and her husband, King Tor, were never really forbidden from the main island, Maledill just made that rule to see if they would be obedient and submit themselves to his will. The Lady Tinidil is reunited with her husband, King Tor. Ransom leaves Perelandra when he sees that the King and the Lady are properly seated on their thrones, as the rulers of Perelandra.
Interesting and Enjoyable
C. S. Lewis’ book, Perelandra, was an interesting and enjoyable book to read. The thing that I found most interesting was the parallel between the Perelandra and the garden of Eden. Lady, much like Eve, was tempted to gain knowledge of good and evil by Weston. Ransom, acting like a conscience explained to Lady why she should not disobey Maledill’s will. I thought that C. S. Lewis was trying to communicate the story of the fall of man to his readers through this story. I would recommend this book because I thought it most interesting and very enjoyable, packed with action and adventure and mystery.
Inspiring and Instructive
The theme of Perelandra was overcoming temptation. This story was very inspiring to read, watching Lady be tested by Weston to gain the knowledge of mankind. Often in our Christian walks, we are tempted to do several things and experience things that seem to be off limits to a Christian. God gives us a conscience and the Holy Spirit to help guide us in our decisions, just like Oysara sent Ransom to Perelandra to help guide Lady in her situation. By reading Perelandra the reader is left with a comforting feeling that knowing that God never will abandon us to evil without giving us a guide, all we have to do is seek him for the answers in the situations we encounter.