Tuesday, April 11, 2017

For Wednesday: Heinlein, Starship Troopers, Chs.6-9

Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: In Chapter Six, the narrator overhears Sergeant Zim talking to Captain Frankel about the whipping of Ted Hendricks. What revelation does he have during this conversation about the chain of command and the “very nature of the world I was in”?

Q2: What about Jean Dubois’ letter convinces the narrator not to resign from service? How might this relate to an earlier statement he made in class that “nothing of value is free” (76)?

Q3: In Chapter 8, the narrator recalls a heated class discussion where Dubois lectures on the 20th century’s treatment of juvenile delinquents. He goes on to say, “Man has no moral instinct. He is not born with moral sense. You were not born with it, I was not—and a puppy has none. We acquire moral sense, when we do, through training, experience, and hard sweat of the mind” (94). Why might this be one of the main themes of the entire book, and a critique not only of the time the book was written (1959) but of our own world as well? Is this why the book remains relevant and controversial?

Q4: Reflecting on his role in the larger scheme of things, the narrator admits, “I am not a professor of cosmo-politics; I’m an M.I. When the government sends me, I go. In between, I catch a lot of sack time” (81). Doesn’t this sound a bit like Candide’s statement “we must tend our garden” which he earlier seemed to criticize? How we are supposed to read the narrator and his lack of curiosity or agency as a soldier? Is he the ideal citizen-soldier, or a dystopian drone who never asks questions?


  1. Q2: The narrator was surprised by the casual tone that Mr. Dubois had in the letter, it's weird for such a high ranking officer to call a recruit a "comrade". Mr. Dubois also told him how he must of gotten past the "hump" or else he wouldn't still be there, he reminded him of his own mental strength and ambition to finish. When Mr. Dubois talked about how nothing of value is free he was basically saying that if you don't work for it then it doesn't have real value. So if the narrator quits the military then he as a person is without value and that makes finishing boot camp all the more sweeter of an accomplishment.
    Q4: In a way this statement is pretty similar to Candide's philosophy, he is just simply doing his job. He doesn't see himself as a hero, he doesn't have grand schemes for his future, and he certainly doesn't mind fighting. The Narrator is far from ideal, from his prescreening before he joined the military he was judged to be about average. But he also doesn't seem to lose all emotion and self reflection that what make him a drone, so I see him as just a guy doing his job like anyone would.

  2. Q1: He realizes that his higher ranked officers are actually human just like him. He didn't think of them as humans before he overheard their conversation. The officers have to project themselves as mean, rude, and dehumanize themselves to get everyone to do what they're suppose to do. If not everyone in the army could die, which means lots of lives lost. If his superiors have doubts then what has he got into. He wonders is this really what he signed up for.

    Q4: The narrator does the job the government gave him, but nothing else. Most would find something to do to keep themselves busy until they're called upon by the government, but the narrator doesn't all he does in his free time is sleep or lounge around. He doesn't ask questions about what his job is or about anything for that matter. He seems like a robot who is following its programming and nothing else seems to matter to him.

    Bailey Copeland

  3. Q3. This is inquired in what we do or have done though our life that makes us who we are today. We aren't just born knowing what to do or how to act we are build into what we are day by day and from lessons learned. It is relevant to what is still happening in today's world.
    Q4. The narrator keep on task as he follows his direct orders. He does his job to the top ability and nothing farther.

  4. I'm so sorry; I thought this posted earlier but it didn't.

    Starship Troopers

    Q2. The letter from Dubois provided Johnnie the two things that he needed that the military/government acts as if people could do without. The first is the approval of someone he respects—his instructors hold this back because they are discouraged against “liking” the men they are breaking down into weapons and sending off to kill/be killed’ his father is dismissive of any ambition that goes against his idea of the norm; Mr. Dubois himself acts like his students are disappointments. The second thing the letter gave Johnnie was hope, acknowledgement that this situation was rough but he would get to the other side of it. The society they are in seems to blame suffering on the victim, even when it is the cause.
    Q4. I enjoy this novel because other, similar works (Orson Scott Card, Enders Game) tend to make their main characters extraordinary. Johnnie is normal. His questions and lack thereof about the society he’s in is incredibly believable. The author doesn’t tack on many moral lessons to his descriptions, because that’s not what the average person thinks as they go about their lives, so we have to decide for ourselves. Johnnie is us—he’s the most unreliable narrator because he’s the most realistic.