Since I forgot to post these questions until late on Tuesday, I'll let you turn them in by Friday. Sorry!
Answer TWO of the following:
Q1: Is Heinlein’s world more of a male fantasy than an equal opportunity utopia? Though women serve in the military—they apparently make the best pilots—they are rarely in the book at all, and those who are sport shaved heads and are often merely ‘seen’ as voices, such as when the narrator tells us, “the last thing a trooper hears before a drop...is a woman’s voice, wishing him luck” (161). Why do the women take such a back seat in the future?
Q2: The narrator reminds us that “the M.I. is a free man; all that drives him comes from the inside—that self-respect and need for the respect of his mates and his pride in being one of them called moral, or esprit de corps” (164). By the end of the book, how “free” are we supposed to see the narrator? Does he truly have free will, or is this “esprit de corps” its own kind of prison?
Q3: One of the most interesting innovations of the future army is that everyone fights, and that the “soft” jobs are always given to civilians. As the narrator explains, “many armies in the past commissioned 10 percent of their number [to be officers], or even 15 percent—and sometimes a preposterous 20 percent!...What kind of army has more “officers” than corporals?...An army organized to lose wars—if history means anything” (166). What do you think Heinlein is criticizing here, and why would this cause armies to lose wars?
Q4: In distinguishing human civilization from the Bugs, the narrator concludes that “If a man gets lost in the mountains, hundreds will search and often two or three searchers are killed. But the next time somebody gets lost just as many volunteers turn out” (176). While this is very true, do you think Rico’s civilization is losing this mark of humanity? Is this the inevitable evolution of human beings—to become more like ‘bugs’ or robots to survive? Does Heinlein seem to take a stance on this?