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

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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;

"In homes a haunted apparatus sleeps,"

This insinuates that all homes have a baby, later revealing it to mean telephones also. Marx theorists believe that there are only two sorts of people: those who labour, and those who profit from labour. This poem disregards that theory, and suggests that all humans are the same with the only difference being whether young or old.

The fact that Raine makes the reader of the poem stand back and defamiliarise themselves from the world, enables one to consider and perhaps scrutinise the way the world is run. Marxists are constantly looking at the world in this way in order to attempt to improve it- often in moves against capitalism. Many of both sociologists and psychologists believe that the best way to judge is to defamiliarise, this shouldn't be too difficult as Erich Fromm believed that;

Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature. He has been Transformed into a commodity, experiences his life forces as an investment, which must bring him, the maximum profit obtainable under existing market conditions

This obviously ties in with the Marxist beliefs that there are the workers, and those who are worked for.

Another point from Raine's poem that adds to Marxist subjects is that of the "Model T", referring to the car made by Ford. This manufacturer being a Western huge-scale corporation would definitely be a topic for Marxist theorists to discuss, them of course tending to be against the capitalist corporations. One can certainly read Raine's negative stereotypes in the way that he portrays these companies, and Western societies as a whole throughout his poems, not only this one.

When Raine depicts the pulse and its comparison with a watch, (again emphasising the confusion between technology and the natural), the subject of the importance of time to the smooth running of the planet emerges. Without time the western capitalist world would be in turmoil, but even the "Third World" needs...
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