Study Guide

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Freedom and Confinement

By Robert Heinlein

Freedom and Confinement

We hear the words freedom and liberty all the time. Politicians can't go two whole sentences without using one of them, newscasters often speak about countries where citizens lack freedoms, and history lessons are full of cool quotes about the subject. Yet, as sought after and loved as these ideals are, how do we know when we've obtained them? Can we say we have liberty if the government tells us how much money we must provide it through taxes? Can we say we are free if we cannot marry whom we wish?

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress provides a potential answer to these types of question, suggesting that government interference in the lives and businesses of individuals limits freedom and liberty. Will you agree with this answer? Let's discuss it and find out.

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. Do you think the Loonies ultimately achieve freedom and liberty by the end of their revolution? Why or why not? Use examples from the text to support your answer.
  2. What qualities does the novel believe are necessary for true freedom and liberty? Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not?
  3. What character would you say stands for a true form of freedom and liberty? Why? On the flip side, what character would you say stands for restricting freedom and liberty? Why?

Chew on This

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress sees economic freedom as the crème de la crème of freedoms since it ties all other freedoms—such as freedom of speech—to it.

The average Loonie does not gain additional freedom as a result of the revolution.

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