Study Guide

Patricia Paiwonski in Stranger in a Strange Land

By Robert A. Heinlein

Patricia Paiwonski

Talk about street cred: this lady is tattooed from head to toe. She's a devout Fosterite who originally works for the carnival (what a combo). But at some unknown point in time, she quits to be with Mike and Jill at the Church of All Worlds.

In the Church, Patty is a loving, considerate person—she's even motherly to her collection of snakes. Hey, she doesn't discriminate. She can be a little aggressive in her views, sure (we're thinking of how she originally wanted to convert Mike and Jill to Fosterism), but she always means well.

One last thing: Patty gives us a pretty good aha moment. When Mike first meets this tattooed lady, she's fifty but looks thirty. She thanks Fosterism for this trick, but Mike knows that she can "think her body as she wished it, whether she attributes it to Foster or not" (27.112). Mike's words show us that it's the outlook on life, not necessarily the Martian language itself, that truly brings about the change. Pretty deep stuff.

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