Perelandra chs 15-17

(see previous)

ch 15.

—Ransom’s 2nd infancy in which he is nursed by Perelandra
the wound on his foot gains prominence (as with the Fisher King in the
Arthurian legend – provides a weakness to a strong, pious character)

return of delight & the growing melody on the fixed land as he again
begins journeying

again he becomes capable of embracing a state of life (climbing)
without self-reflection as the woman had been able to do previously

entering the shallow – the valley between mountains which he senses he
should not dare to enter but he dares not to dare not

ch 16.

—bloodless voice of the eldila
Oyarsa of Malacandra is known only as Malacandra outside of his
sphere
This planet is different for they have not directly known their eldila
– again the effects of the corner

process of giving birth & letting go is the task given to
Perelandra.

today is the morning day – when the queen ascends with the king to
meet the eldila and assume their task
**they tell Ransom to be comforted in his smallness

**the appearances of the eldila – first, terrible movements of
horrible pillars, then of concentric wheels of terrible size & finally
of giant human figures (again unable to determine size) – but they
seem to be rushing towards Ransom & faintly undulating – also they are
oriented as if this world is aslant from the fields of Arbol

in other words, they are not here as Ransom is here

**gender difference – they are differently ‘plumaged’ in that the
masculine is pure & hard while the feminine is characterized by a
warm, vegetable splendour…

note also their angelic charity – devoid of affectation (or
specificity…for they simply love where our charity swiftly flows
toward a specific object)…instead a pure, ferocious love.

referring to sexual difference: rhythm & melody, quantitative vs
accentual – the real meaning of gender has been miscast in our world
as merely sexual.
Instead gender is reality – a reality more fundamental than sex
(Pace Freud)
–instead of male being primary and masculine derivative, all things
masculine have been taken in myth to inform what is understood as
male. Sex is merely the organic expression of universal polarity.

Also note here that we find C.S. Lewis’ belief that mythology reflects
a true order, though it is transmitted through distortions. The
universe cannot keep a secret for all is connected as a spider web.

**Only Maleldil sees any creature as it truly is (Kantian anti-
realism)
seeing only an appearance but not therefore unreal (p 173)…the
appearance is ‘true as’…

A difference spatially in sensation of seeing a stone is different
from a stone being thrown (is this a distinction of telos?)…there
seems to be something here of an attempt to understand that space is
not merely a thing to be understood by seeing but by experience –
distance not merely spatial (not near vs far primarily)

ch 17.

The king – resembles Christ well but where most resembles there is no
mistaking one for the other.

Authority is bestowed upon the queen and king – guide all to
perfection
In comparing the eldila with Tor and Tinidril he sees the full meaning
of the animal rationale
they recognize Ransom’s actions as being of Maleldil’s will but
also some credit being due him as Saviour (as was the case for Oyarsa
Perelandra)

**At last we find out why the desire for the Fixed was wrong – the
desire for predictability and control betrays a lack of trust. (p
179)
It would be to reject the wave and choose instead to control time

Note also the mirth of the king even when discussing his understanding
of evil (an understanding different in character from ) – fully
serious but fully jovial

Interesting to also note that in inspiration Tinidril begets in
inspiration while the king brings the thought to bear

**particularly interesting passage discussing the future: ‘the end?
Who spoke of an end?’ (pp 181-182)
The beginning of the clearing of our spot – but not truly of a
beginning either – the breaking of the barrier shield in the moon

What then was this for? The answer is not to be found by placing the
Thulcandra or Malacandra or Perelandra at the centre but instead
understanding that the centre is wherever Maleldil is. The only way
out of the centre is by means of a Bent Will.
This is expressed by the Great Dance – which can be mistook for chaos
if any point is looked at without seeing the whole, but instead all
dimensions are needed to see truly (and this truth looks simple to the
outsider). What appears to be unplanned is all planned.

 

Final Notes: I’ve said far too much and understood far too little –
what do you see, and what do you understand?

Perelandra chs 10-14

(see previous)

ch 10.

**the virtue of the stories told by the Un-man is that the women
endured abhominable tragedies, but ultimately proved triumphant or
were recognized for their transcendent graces. Interesting mode of
attack

Trying to teach some beauty in death & get her to appreciate a beauty
in herself apart from Maleldil and apart from the king (though
supposedly this is for Maleldil and to make her more beautiful for the
king)

**This can’t go on.

Lewis’ demonology is particularly interesting – the reality far worse
than Mephistopheles or the fallen star of Paradise Lost – completely
inorganic hatred which cares not for its object, only achieving its
goals.

Horror of hearing Weston or a voice like Weston’s: the intoxicated
will.

-efforts to draw her to regard her own beauty independent of Maleldil
or the king employ use of clothing and a mirror. Is…is the beauty
observed through the mirror really helpful in understanding for what
purpose that beauty is given? With this reflection is the
introduction of fear. ~”It comes into my mind, Stranger…that a
fruit does not eat itself, and a man cannot be together with
himself.” (p 117)

Greatness for the Un-man is in throwing off ‘fruitness’ and assuming a
higher order by force or finding nobility in martyrdom instead of
finding meaning in the whole.

ch 11.

Ransom bemoans the unfairness & is instead answered by a sense of the
Presence. “I’ve done all I can.” This snaps & finally subsides for a
certain determination (something more mature than when he threw his
backpack over the hedge in ‘Out of the Silent Planet’).

Does a spiritual struggle rule out a physical conflict (not from a
holistic perspective where one is never seen without the other)…the
absurd is what he will do.

**This always troubles me about this book – the answer is through
violence. Jesus took violence upon himself instead. I find this an
interesting excursus but don’t know what to really do with the
solution through violence. Really interested in other opinions on
this.

This story is not the story of Eve – not a mere repetition of the same
fight. The idea of these events being affected by our story but being
an equally important story for its sake…a corner of history. Note
‘would have happened’ is as meaningless a question here as is never
answered in Narnia.

“The whole distinction between things accidental and things designed,
like the distinction between fact and myth, was purely
terrestrial.” (p. 125)

**”My name also is Ransom.”

he had overestimated the task given to him & tried to wrestle out from
under it by megalomania or by thinking the pattern wasn’t concerned
with him at all.

chs 12-13.

Recounting of their battle – finding what his anger is really for.
The horrid discussion with Weston’s phantom of a psyche or the
imitation of what was Weston attempts to trick Ransom. Speaking of
existence as the rind just on the verge of the true suffering.
Recalls Dante’s hell. God of the living but not of the dead a
horrific thing for one non-living.

The idea of the thin outer-skin of life but waiting to be peeled off
to reveal the horrific fruit of death.

ch 14.

last struggles with the enemy.

Again his anger saves him as he grows angry at the invasion of his
mind by the Un-man.

 

 

Notes to consider further: I have skipped much of his journey and the
horrors of the story itself, but still I can’t help wondering if this
is the proper way to fix the game – this is a very different means of
redemption, an escape rather than a solution. I don’t know.

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
surprising

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
disobedience

brings up the concept of a law made purely for the sake of teaching
obedience
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!