Stark N3 Essay1

Submitted By carcrasher34
Words: 2729
Pages: 11

Daniel Stark
Prof. Douglas Rigby
English 106 N3
Essay #1
A Martian Sends a Postcard Home Analysis In life, we as humans tend to lean to the normal and the usual. We do things and perceive things in a way which is similar to a habit. By choosing to look at things differently is the first step in breaking that which is routine. In the poem, “A Martian Sends a Postcard Home,” we look at things that, to the average human, are normal or typical but we look at them in a different light. We look at things from a new perspective. This poem deals with the disconnection of perception that occurs when something which we are familiar with is perceived from a different perspective. In the opening stanza of this poem, Craig Raine starts off his ignorant outlook on books as if they were being described by a Martian. “Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings and some are treasured for their markings- they cause the eyes to melt or the body to shriek without pain. I have never seen one fly but sometimes they perch on the hand” (Raine 468). The Martian refers to books as Caxtons because the book he seen had the name Caxton on it because William Caxton was the first Englishman to publish books in print. The fact that he refers to them as birds with many wings is his way of speaking of the many pages within the book. By saying that “some are treasured for their markings” (Raine 468), the Martian is speaking of how some people collect certain books based on the stories within them. “They cause the eyes to melt or the body to shriek without pain” (Raine 468) is a description of how a person is emotionally responsive to what they are reading in the book. Lastly, by saying that he never saw them fly but he sees them perch on the hand, he is showing the last piece of proof that what he is referring to is a book. When time is taken to stop and analyze this piece of literature, a realization comes to mind. That realization is that ordinary things can be witnessed from a whole new perspective, in this case an almost ignorant and childlike perspective. Many would simply, out of habit, refuse this kind of change in perception but not voluntarily. Many would argue that people are just ignorant to the things in life that break routine or don’t appear to be the norm. By taking the risk of being willing to step back and think outside the box, wondrous things can be discovered about the littlest things in life. A lot of innocence and ignorance is shown in this particular stanza. Raine talks about something as simple as mist in a whole new light. “Mist is when the sky is tired of flight and rests its soft machine on the ground: then the world is dim and bookish like engravings under tissue paper” (Raine 469). If time is taken to break this down, we see ignorance being displayed in a way which forces us to step back and look at this in a different light. The Martian speaks of the mist as though it were a mechanical device by referencing a machine resting on the ground. This is yet another example of how straying from typical textbook definitions of sorts allows us to see things in a beautifully different way. “Model T is a room with a lock inside- a key is turned to free the world for movement, so quick there is a film to watch for anything missed” (Raine 469). The disconnection from the familiar shown here is what makes this stanza so elaborate. The Martian speaks of a Model T as though it is the only automobile that has these features. Further analysis shows that he only refers to the Model T based on his lack of knowledge of other models. By saying “a key is turned to free the world for movement” (Raine 469) he is talking of turning the key in the ignition and of course preceding to drive. By referencing the “film to watch for anything missed” (Raine 469), he is referring to the side mirrors and rear view mirrors. “At night, when all the colors die, they hide in pairs and read about themselves in color, with their eyelids shut” (Raine