Study Guide

Stranger in a Strange Land Chapter 11

By Robert A. Heinlein

Chapter 11

  • Time for some alien info: we get a major glimpse into Martian life in the opening of this chapter.
  • The difference between how humans and Martians view sex and its relation to art is something to note. You can bet we will return to this many times throughout the novel.
  • Science Snack: Heinlein enjoys a bit of the old "science humor" in this chapter opening. The "fifth planet" he refers to is not Jupiter (fifth planet from the sun). Heinlein is saying that the asteroid belt orbiting the space between Mars and Jupiter was once a planet in the Solar System, but the Martians destroyed it. Apparently, they grokked everything they needed to know about the unknown planet's inhabitants and thought the universe would be better off without them.
  • We also learn a bit about Mike's childhood on Mars and how the Martians taught him. The short and simple of it: they treated him like a guinea pig.
  • Mike takes up two hobbies in earnest while staying at Jubal's. The first is reading, so he can learn the English language and human culture better. The second is swimming. He finds that just staying in the water is ecstasy inducing. 
  • Jubal, however, is getting antsy. He keeps waiting for the hammer to drop, but no one—from the government to the army or even the local police—have paid him a visit.
  • Jill informs Jubal she is leaving to find Ben. He asks her to not be so hasty, revealing that he has already hired the best private detectives in the business to find him.
  • Jill and Jubal discuss the whole Ben situation—in vivid detail. (Seriously, check it out.)
  • Their best assumption is that either someone apprehended Ben or he is dead. Jubal believes a man working for Douglas named Berquist might be involved since he disappeared around the same time Ben did.
  • At the mention of Berquist's name, Jill confesses that Mike already made him disappear in Ben's apartment.
  • Jubal is intrigued—duh—and decides he needs to see this miracle for himself. He calls upon Anne, a Fair Witness like Cavendish, to watch the proceedings.