Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 10, 2023
December 3, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
See discount terms and conditions.
Valentine Michael Smith is born on Mars to Earthling parents who die almost immediately after his birth, and is raised by the Martian race. Thus, his experience is entirely unique. He is unlike any other Martian because of his human physiology, and unlike any other human beings because of his Martian ways of thought. Mental powers that human beings assume are impossible, such as telekinesis and mind reading, are second nature to him, and his philosophies are entirely Martian as well—for example, if a "water-brother" (a close companion) wished him to will his body to die, Mike would be delighted to comply. Earth customs such as jealousy, desire, and lying are utterly foreign to him, implying that these qualities which often seem inherent to the human condition are learned.
Although Mike would seem to be the novel's central character—he is the titular stranger in a strange land—his journey toward understanding his human roots occurs largely in the margins of the plot. Instead, Heinlein focuses on Mike's companions' reactions to his growth. Therefore, Mike's leaps in "grokking" humankind often seem to occur quite precipitously. Under Jubal's tutelage he learns about the structure of human society; from his murderous encounter with Digby he learns self-reliance; from his days in the carnival he learns the value of showmanship; and from his days in Las Vegas he learns the nature of desire. From watching monkeys at the zoo he has the final revelation that makes him fully human. He learns that comedy and tragedy are inextricably intertwined, and that people laugh to soothe the pain of the horrors they have created for themselves. Mike weaves all of his knowledge, Martian and Earthling, into the Church of All Worlds, his noble attempt to help humankind rise above suffering.