Perelandra chs 1-9 Notes

These are items which stood out to me in my reading – please share any
disagreements, emendations, or furthering comments/questions. If this
seems disjointed, that’s because it is – this discussion only has
natural movements if it finds its joints in the text.

ch 1.

—the author’s warfare: trying to steel oneself in preparation for
meeting something thoroughly unsettling (the eldila) & the way this
plays with his mind.
**danger of “being drawn in” (p. 10) : a door slammed shut locking
oneself inside

**problem of angelic or animal voice…supernatural versus scientific
(real): a manipulation which can be seen through.
The eldila are thoroughly other – ‘bloodless voices’ or ‘inorganic’ in
Lewis’ meaning.

Lewis’ character surrenders to being drawn in (& this may mirror
reactions similar to Susan’s in Narnia perhaps…a preference for the
real order)

ch 2.

—in the discussion w/ Ransom we see Lewis’ questioning of who is
really good as one to be ignored
they speak of the end of isolation in dealings between the field of
Arbol and within this world

**the evil archon’s “photosome” (light-body) had been driven back and
entrapped…thinking of light in absence of motion as the dark
movement of this photosome

ch 3.

—we find that it is words themselves that are vague – Ransom’s
experience has been too definite for language
he speaks of “waves of pleasure” – some sort of transcendent
sexuality? the sort of thing which might overload a brain

also especially note the seeking to repeat a pleasure is seen as a
vulgarity. It is this grasping which will be especially explored in
the book

ch 4.

—imagery of the garden of the Hesperides – the dragon & fruit
**again issues of security & this clinging to the promise of pleasure
is significant.
the vulgarity can be expressed as multiplied encores – seeking to
repeat a performance rather than being able to enjoy the one given

loneliness & laughter (recall the prominence of frivolity in the
Magician’s Nephew)

ch 5.

—meeting with the lady
seeing time as a wave or as a definite distance
**the oddity of meeting someone in another world who knows the grand
narrative of our world; Maleldil’s taking on of human form has changed
everything in a sense so that finding the form repeated should not be

viewing things from this angle horrifies Ransom (perhaps because he
expects the same end…but does he misunderstand ‘the end’ for a
failed beginning?)

seeing her as the fusion of many demi-goddesses

**Earth as time’s ‘corner’

& we meet the good expected versus the good given

ch 6.

–problem of individualism
are there to be different laws in different worlds – items that
apply in either world that are meaningless in the other? **What is
the meaning of the lady not being allowed to stay on the fixed land?

or are these seemingly arbitrary things meant to be a test of
overcoming trust?

contrast in the roles of eldila in this world as opposed to Malacandra
where there was a more clearly delineated rulership – submission to
the protector of hnau is a thing of the past

Ransom begins to feel the injustice at being given such a task
(contrast w/ Digory)

ch 7.

–utilitarianism of Weston taken to the extreme; the utter pragmatist
with no use for knowledge unless as a tool to its end.
applies his utilitarianism not to himself or to his loved ones but to
the entire race & seeks to speed the process of evolution
*speaks of working for ‘Spirit’ but means nothing recognizable by the
term (spirit as a coldly rational thing)
he means by spiritual end the search for transcendence, but has no
means of determining which transcendent is good

ch 9.

— the horror of seeing the damaged frogs – Weston’s deeds

seeking to demonstrate for the woman that her differentiation –
becoming a self-reflecting individual can be accomplished without

brings up the concept of a law made purely for the sake of teaching
again, the issue of unfairness



Generalities to pay attention to: Weston is sent to Perelandra with
some idea of a grand mission unknown to him & finds a horribly unfair
contest with one who has succeeded at his task before. The picture of
Weston’s possession/being melted into his master is especially
horrific and one is meant to wonder what would lead towards this same
road. The distinctions of feminine and sexually female will be better
explained in the last chapters, but clearly Venereal imagery is
throughout & we are meant to pay attention to the interactions with
the world (especially taking, grasping, keeping). The imagery
certainly has a divine feminine characteristic. I’ve surely left out
a lot – please add what you notice to be missing!


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