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Artificial persons might seem to act and appear like us in virtually all aspects, but it is hard for them to be as real human beings. They will always have problems adjusting to normal human social interactions, face resentments, and if they are successful, find belonging in the wrong engagements like sex and in wrong social set ups.In Robert Heinlein’s novel, Friday set in a Balkanized world and which is about an artificially created female secret agent who finds herself in dangerous intrigues in the cause of her duty until she quits to pursue where she belongs before ending up in a curious situation of getting married to the same person who had earlier raped her, the author uses a number of formal elements like symbols and plot structure to develop the main character and also to bring out a number of themes such as feminism, clash between science and religion, moral decadence and global re-ordering of nation states.
As the story opens, Friday Baldwin is on one of her secret service duties in a far off land, Kenya.
She is being stalked by a person who follows her right into the “Customs, Health and Immigration” (Heinlein1), but she ends up killing him at the prompt of her subconscious. It is clear she is not quite comfortable in her role and travel mode as suggested by her own assertion, “I have never liked riding the Beanstalk. My distaste was full blown even before the disaster to the Quito Skyhook” (Heinlein 1).
This points to dangers in her preoccupation as a secret service agent who trotters the globe and even beyond. The dangers and risks of death are in fact manifest where upon reaching her employer’s base from duty, Friday gets abducted and she suffers terrible rape ordeal and torture. Her “inhumanness” and lack of human feelings can be seen where she is raped by her captors and she manages to withstand violation from the four of them, until they abandon the act upon realizing they are not breaking her will. In fact, they rightly guess she is enjoying it. One of them shoots: “Mac, we’re wasting our time. This slut enjoys it” (Heinlein 7).
Through this episode, the author raises the theme of feminism and women exploitation. In society, those women who get raped are accused of really ‘enjoying’ hence its not taken seriously. The failure to be vanquished by the mass rape depicts Friday as a stoic character. She talks about the gory episode in a manner devoid of human feelings prompting one to see like she is enjoying it as claimed by the rapists: “I worked on all of them-method acting, of course-reluctant, have to be forced, then gradually your passion overcomes you”(Heinlein 7).
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