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Analysis

Literary Devices in Stranger in a Strange Land

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Stranger in a Strange Land takes place in the future, but it's the future as imagined in the 1950s. This whole past's future conundrum gives the novel's world a sort of retro vibe. The taxis fly an...

Narrator Point of View

In a book that travels from Earth to Mars and back, it's not surprising that Heinlein writes in third-person omniscient. This point of view means that Heinlein will not keep his story limited to th...

Genre

From Man-Boy to Man-ManFirst and foremost, Stranger in a Strange Land is a coming-of-age story. Sure, Mike is already the age of an adult from the story's onset, but in terms of human development,...

Tone

Stranger critiques various social institutions and mores. Actually, it critiques the way people don't question their purpose or usefulness. By critique, we don't mean it bashes them for all their f...

Writing Style

It's all about conversations in Stranger in a Strange Land. There's lots of dialogue and generally small sentences that build concise paragraphs. Partly, this is because your average chapter consis...

What's Up With the Title?

The title Stranger in a Strange Land is a straight-up shout-out to the Bible. In Exodus 2:22, Moses names his son Gershom, for "he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land." Wait, what does M...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending certainly didn't wrap up the story in a neat little package, did it? Heinlein leaves a bunch of questions up in the air. What will Mike do in the afterlife? What became of Mike's new rel...

Tough-o-Meter

To prevent some frustration, you'll need to know two things before tackling Stranger in a Strange Land head on:(1) Heinlein writes about some pretty tricky social and cultural concepts. Naturally,...

Plot Analysis

The World's First Intergalactic Prisoner/TouristThe initial situation or setup is basically Part One of the novel. Here, we get all the information we need to understand the story to come—mostly...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Booker's "Rebirth" plot outline starts with the young hero or heroine falling under the shadow of an evil power. Mwa ha ha. At the beginning of the novel, Mike almost literally falls to Earth and u...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

In Act I, also known as the big setup, we are introduced to Michael Valentine Smith, and we learn about his origins on Mars. We come to understand the political struggle taking place around him, bu...

Trivia

Heinlein is one of the Big Three of science fiction writers. Along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, our guy brought science fiction into its golden age. Their stories showed that science fic...

Steaminess Rating

Oh, there's sex and nudity to be had in Stranger in a Strange Land. We've got everything from vanilla man-woman monogamy to orgies to group nudist communes. But since one of the major points of the...

Allusions

Ben misquotes Shakespeare's Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2 (6.48). The line he was going for was, "What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba."Jubal references Mr. A Square from Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimens...
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