Week 6 Readings
Featuring a picture of Oxford!
Philip Hensher – “To Feed the Night”
This story read almost like a meticulous murder, and perhaps that’s because death was involved. There is a disconnect between the reader and the two main characters, the man and his wife. They have no names that we know of, only Mr. Bell. By not naming characters Hensher creates an eerie distance between writer and reader, and allows the plot and the overarching message to come to the front of the story. While some of the connection between the house-buying and the man’s eventual death is a little murky, the irony of the wife placing his urn in a drawer with “space enough” for him is an unsettling ending to this story. Distance between the wife and the man is also palpable in the wife’s tiredness at the man’s endeavors for constant house buying. Overall it’s an intense piece with a dark and strange tone to it, born out of something ordinary.
Craig Raine – “A Martian Sends a Postcard Home”
I found this poem quite beautiful in it’s look at humanity. There is always an advantage of implementing a fantastical element to a creative piece to create a commentary on social behaviors. I don’t think this is necessarily satirical, but the narrators observations of humanity in foreign terms forces the reader to think about what he is describing. It’s engaging and interesting, and it works as a way of describing ordinary things like sleeping, in new ways. It’s different ways of thinking, and that perhaps, is who the martian is. Just a new way of thinking.