Study Guide

Stranger in a Strange Land Chapter 12

By Robert A. Heinlein

Chapter 12

  • Jill comes to Jubal's office to tell him that Mike is dressing himself and is on his way. Jubal isn't psyched about this. He says that by requiring Mike to wear clothes Jill is teaching him her "narrow-minded, middle-class, Bible belt morality" (12.9). 
  • Aw, snap.
  • But not so fast. Jill counters that Mike needs to learn the customs of human culture if he wants to be a part of it. Jubal agrees, but he is still majorly cynical about customs and their arbitrary nature.
  • Mike ties both his shoes (victory!) and is late to Jubal's office. Jubal asks him what he has learned. Turns out he has learned to do a one-and-a-half gainer and also to read, amongst other things, several volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, some rather intimidating titled books, and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Quite a variety.
  • During the discussion, it becomes clear that Mike has no understanding of the distinction between fiction and nonfiction—he thinks Romeo is an actual dude. (Clearly he hasn't consulted Shmoop.)
  • Jubal runs a series of tests to see how Mike makes objects disappear. He video records the whole thing while Anne bears witness in official Fair Witness capacity. 
  • Jill throws a box at Jubal, and it vanishes. Ta-da!
  • Mike explains that he doesn't have to see or touch an object to make it wink out of existence. Instead, if he knows an object or person is a "wrong thing" (12.107), he can render it nonexistent. This is especially true if the object in question is going to hurt either Mike or one of his water brothers. 
  • Oh, and he can also levitate small objects, like an ashtray. Anne admits she has never seen anything like this before. (We have: Xavier and Jean Grey from X-Men.)
  • Jubal officially hires Jill as "assistant for Martian linguistics, culture, and techniques" (10.236). Her job will be to learn the Martian language and learn about any other differences between the Martians (namely Mike) and humans. Sounds like an awesome gig.
  • Jubal tells Duke not to clean the pool and to leave the water murky. Hmmm, wonder what he's planning…
  • Mike mentions that when Jubal discorporates he will eat Jubal's body and cherish the opportunity. Oh my.
  • Apparently, Martians do this to fully grok their beloved water brothers. Apparently a nice Hallmark card simply will not do in this instance.
  • In one final experiment, Jubal finds out that Mike can make a gun disappear from someone's hand without killing the individual holding it. Lucky for Jubal, since he was the one holding the gun.

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