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February 6th, 2011, 11:08 AM #11
But with Heinlein his political and social views are rarely deconstructed. Characters go from one end of a story to the other and appear to have changed only very slightly. His stories are often a "see I told you so" kind of affair.
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Jubal, for example, is not a character who changes particularly in this book, but is a character who is usually 'right' and therefore doesn't need to change. In fact, the world needs to change to see his point of view, rather than he be changed by the world around him.
And this is an archetype of the later Heinlein writing in particular: see also Lazarus Long in the Time Enough for Love incarnation.
What it must be to know everything and be right all the time... and having recently read the recent biography of Heinlein, I'm now getting the impression more than ever before that these characters are who Heinlein wanted to be...
So: lets deal with the big question: what is the point of Stranger in a Strange Land? What do readers get/grok from it that they didn't get before?
Is it that alternate lifestyles are OK, that it's OK to live a life without social restrictions, or at least less than 'normal society' would suggest? That different is fine and that we are really all different? Might explain that attraction of the 1960's...
Or is it that it points out that we're all going to hell in a handcart and that society needs to change if we are to continue/evolve?