"A Martian Sends A Postcard Home" by Craig Raine.

Marxist philosophy Social alienation Capitalism

Throughout Craig Raine's seventeen-stanza poem several functional devices become apparent with defamiliarisation being the most prominent. Raine also utilises alienation to enable the audience to observe Earth and human behaviour from a Martian's "alien" point of view. Marxist theories aid in the interpretation of this poem in that Raine suggests that the printing presses rule the world- or at least its censorship. Freudian literary theories also come in useful when analysing "A Martian Sends a Postcard Home" especially with the last two stanzas being about the metaphysical world of dreams.

Raine's unusual world hypothetically assumes a future state, where Martians do exist to the extent that they have landed on Earth and are able to have mail delivered back to their home planet giving the poem a somewhat farcical nature . However this poem makes one of its functions very clear; it raises the question of are we alone in the universe straight to the forefront of our minds for a fresh examination.

The structure of "A Martian Sends A Postcard Back Home" is very much like a postcard in itself, only this is a confused postcard. Postcards rarely require a response however, this one certainly does in the form of clarification. The Martian gets confused with the difference between a baby and a telephone, (st10-12), emphasising the confusion between technology and the natural instigated in stanza one, with "Caxtons" being "mechanical bird[s]", meaning newspapers and books.

The suggestion of literature controlling our emotions brought forth in the early stages of the poem introduces Marxist theory into the poem; ideology in modern capitalist societies suggests that whoever owns the publishing houses controls cultural production, and therefore the strength of capitalism itself . Also reinforcing Marxist theories throughout the poem is the fact that the poem is stereotypical of all human houses not mentioning poverty or excessive wealth. For example stanza ten;...
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