A Martian Sends a Postcard Home – Analysis

The poem A Martian Sends a Postcard Home by Craig Raine depicts exactly what the title says: a Martian sending a postcard home. However, we must take into consideration that the Martian is actually on Earth, sending a postcard back to his own home; therefore the descriptions of our everyday objects are depicted so bizarrely. Every detail alludes to items as well as actions seen on Earth. In the poem Raine illustrates several things from the Martian’s perspective: a book, fog, car, clock, telephone, bathroom, and dream. The author applies a very unique technique in describing all these things, he breaks down each object into unrecognisable parts and compares them to something similar. A book is illustrated and compared to a mechanical bird with many wings. The flapping wings of a bird imitates the turning pages of a book. Raine also says “some are treasured for their markings” referring to that fact that some books are cherished by individuals because of their “markings”, the words written in them. One final things the author does to compare a book to a bird is to remove certain qualities of a bird that don’t fit in the description of a book, such as flight, but also emphasize a similarity; a book sitting compared to a bird perching on someone’s hand. This kind of dismantling of objects and analysing them in a new perspective is done for every object Raine depicts. Another excellent example of this would be the author’s depiction of a car. The author says, “Model T is a room  with a lock inside”, from an outside look, a car is nothing more than an enclosed space, exactly what a room is. Raine removes features of a room that don’t apply to a car, a room doesn’t lock from the inside but a car does. The ending of the poem is the most intriguing since it doesn’t depict anything tangible but rather the concept of dreaming or the action of sleeping. Raine states that “at night when all colours die, they hide in pairs and read about themselves — in colour, with their eyelids shut”. It is very clear in these last stanza’s Raine is illustrating a scene where two people are sleeping. The night is dark and no colour can be seen; but in our dreams, where we learn or “read” about ourselves, we see in colour. This is the only thing that the author doesn’t compare to another object but simply analyses what dreaming truly is, using the simplest of descriptions.

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About vincentmli

Hi! I am Vincent Li a first year Biological Science major with an emphasis in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. My hobbies include kicking it in the front seat, sitting in the back seat, and getting down on Friday. It is very fun, fun, fun.
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3 Responses to A Martian Sends a Postcard Home – Analysis

  1. Ryan McCann says:

    Hi Vincent. I am a stand up comic and am looking for an analysis of this poem to talk about on stage – this one is perfect! it’s an ideal length and makes point very useful to me, would you mind at all if i were to make use of it? I will give you full credit for the work. Please email me and let me know what you think.

  2. lerato says:

    this has inddeed helped me as i am trying to analyse that poem… thanQ

  3. tuomas56 says:

    very helpful

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