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Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange Land


by Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

"On Mars there is never anything to laugh at. All the things that are funny to us humans either cannot happen on Mars or are not permitted to happen—sweetheart, what you call 'freedom' doesn't exist on Mars; everything is planned by the Old Ones." (29.180)

We laugh at the pain felt by stunts gone wrong on YouTube, if only to keep from cringing in empathy. The Daily Show helps us chuckle at the sad state of affairs the world may find itself in. For Mike, laughter is the ultimate expression of freedom.

Quote #8

"The only religious opinion I feel sure of is this: self-awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together" (33.110)

Usually, Stranger in a Strange Land focuses on issues of freedom and confinement in regard to society and culture, but here Jubal takes a detour. On the issue of nature versus nurture, Jubal sides with nurture or, at least, a mixture of the two siding on nurture. It would also explain how Mike can be genetically confined to being a human, but be free to explore both Martian and human worldviews.

Quote #9

"Mike isn't gentle, Jubal. Killing a man wouldn't worry him. But he's the ultimate anarchist—locking a man up is a wrongness. Freedom of self—and utter personal responsibility for self." (35.143)

This is one of the stickier issues of the novel for many people. Ben is saying that Mike's code does not allow him to imprison people. To confine a man like that is wrong, but if he exercises his free will improperly, then killing him might be an acceptable action. It's shiv or be shivved in the Church of All Worlds. What do you think of this logic? Does it hold up or do you see some problems?

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