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Comparison of 'Once upon a time' by Gabriel Okara and

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Introduction

Comparison of 'Once upon a time' by Gabriel Okara and 'A Martian sends a postcard home' by Craig Raine Gabriel Okara was born in 1921 in Ijaw country in the Niger Delta, in Nigeria. He was educated at Government College, Umuahia, and then slowly rose from a humble bookbinder to international success. He began to write plays and features for broadcasting and his poetry appeared regularly in 'Black Orpheus', a newspaper, starting with the first number. He became an Information Officer in Enugu, then Head of the Newspaper Division, Ministry of Information, Port Harcourt and is now currently Writer-in-Residence of the Rivers State Council on Arts and Culture. However, his poems strike a chord with many of the population, namely "Once upon a time". Craig Raine was born in Shildon, County Durham in 1944. He was briefly educated at Exeter College, moved on to Oxford, and finally became a man of many qualities that led to his wide range of jobs - editor, essayist, journalist, librettist, literary critic, playwright, publisher, scholar and translator. Like Okara, he is also famous for being a critically acclaimed poet famous for his figurative language and concrete details. ...read more.

Middle

In "A Martian Sends a Postcard Home," Craig Raine uses many metaphors to describe what a Martian would see if he came to earth. The poem consists of seventeen stanzas. All of the stanzas have two lines. We know it's about this subject by the title and simply skimming through the text, which makes it all very understandable. However, the language used is more difficult to interpret and takes some thought. It is mysterious from the very first stanza- "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". This is a reference to William Caxton who was the first to print books in England in the late 1400's. These 'mechanical birds' are books, with many 'wings', meaning pages. The body shrieking without pain is laughter and the eyes melting are the reader's tears. "Model T is a room with the lock inside - A key is turned to free the world For movement, so quick there is a film To watch for anything missed". These seventh and eighth stanzas are talking about a car. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mysteriously, the Martian never discusses what life on his planet was like, unlike Gabriel Okara whom describes the warmth he used to experience before. However, despite these many differences, the poets come together on one extremely important subject. It is, the way we take our lives for granted while others, unsuspectingly wander around feeling confused at all the social and physical complexities of the strange and alien world around them. The poets both write about separate characters commenting on their experience in another place, and not feeling at ease with it as the other members of the population are. It is true that one poem is quite dark and the other is lighthearted, the stanzas and couplets are differently placed, the wording is different etc, but overall, the characters in question are both feeling out of place and confused about all the common perplexities. They comment on life on this Earth we experience every day and take for granted. We hardly notice how a car may sound to an outsider or how "It was nice having you here today with us" could hurt a guest or client who knows you didn't mean what you said. We are all so accustomed to our lives; we do not think much of how it may seem to anybody else who has never been in that state of environment. ...read more.

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