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Stranger in a Strange Land

Powerful Essays
Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein takes the themes portrayed in the book and directly criticizes the Western Culture. As Heinlein said, "My purpose in this book was to examine every major axiom of western culture, to question each axiom, throw doubt on it" (Jelliffe 161). These axioms are where feels the Western Culture fails and so he uses the themes to criticize humans of the Western Culture by pointing out these faults. The themes of the story portray this by having Valentine Michael Smith, a human raised by Martians, come to earth to teach his knowledge which contradict what the Western Culture feels to be true. "Stranger is a strong-minded work of culture criticism, no doubt about it (Stover 58)." The themes that Heinlein uses are those of religion, sex, and love to make his point of where the Western Culture fails as a whole. Heinlein's writing of his novels after 1961 when he wrote Stranger in a Strange Land, has changed the genre of science-fiction, because he not only wrote about strange worlds and crazy adventures, but Heinlein also tried to include criticism and a message to the reader in his novels to explain problems that he felt humans have. This became Heinlein's writing style after 1957 when he reached the age of 50 and was on the top of science-fiction. Because science-fiction was considered to be for kids, Heinlein began to write more for adult audiences by adding the real problems and criticism into his novel (Drucolli 210). "The publication of Stranger in a Strange Land marked drastic shift in Heinlein's writing, at least in social criticism and controversial subject matter" (Drucolli 227). "As he had done immediately before World War II, Heinlein helped to ...

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...ing the Ways of Man to God: The Novels of Robert A Heinlein." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Eds. Dedria Bryfonski, Laurie Lanzen Harris. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1980. Vol. 14, 254-255.

Jelliffe, R.A. "Alice in Wonderland for Space Age Grownups." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Eds. Dedria Bryfonski, Laurie Lanzen Harris. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1975. Vol. 26, 161-162.

Rose, Lois and Stephen. "The Shattered Ring: Science Fiction and the Quest for meaning." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1969. Vol. 3, 226-227.

Samuelson, David. " 'Stranger' in the Sixties: Model or Mirror?" Contemporary Literary Criticism. Eds. Dedria Bryfonski, Laurie Lanzen Harris. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1975. Vol 26, 167-169.

Stover, Leon. Robert A. Heinlein. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1987.
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