A Marxist Analysis Of A Star Trek Episode: This Side Of Paradise

1467 words - 6 pages

Marxist Analysis of the Star Trek Episode:This Side of ParadiseIntroductionI am doing a Marxist analysis of the Star Trek Episode 'This side of paradise'. This episode was aired on March 2 1967. In this episode a group of colonists are found alive on a planet being bombarded with fatal Berthold rays. The colonists are all in perfect health, and after investigating the cause, a strange plant whose spores remove all negative emotions and feelings. Spock, and other normally regimented members of the crew are affected by these spores and mutiny follows, leaving Captain Kirk as the sole remaining crew member on board.In this analysis I will approach the text from a historical and cultu ...view middle of the document...

The author takes the position of a critical observer, and through the eyes of Captain Kirk, he invites the audience to feel good about looking down on the utopian groups that exist in society. Secretly however, he himself wishes that he could be carefree, and happy while maintaining his own responsibility to society.Historical and Cultural ContextThe episode was broadcast in 1967, a time of cultural and social change. The Vietnam War was in full swing, and there was a revolution from a traditional way of thinking and doing things, to a more idealistic and 'free' society. In the text, the colonists represent the new ways of doing things, with their freedom of emotions and utopian life style. They live on a perfect world, where everyone is equal, and free to live the way he chooses. However, in the text, they are all bound by duty to play their part, as farmers, or other assigned roles within their community.This socialistic society has the drawback of destroying their individuality as people within their community. The leader, Elias Sandoval speaks for the colonists as a whole, and he decides what is good for the group. I think that the author is trying to emphasize the cost of living this lifestyle, and pointing out that eventually all people must return to the 'real world', in this case, the star ship Enterprise.Despite the setting in the future, it uses a very human setting, in an agricultural setting to make comment on the world in the present. While some people are free to live their lifestyle as they choose, the 'real world', with its responsibilities and burdens must go on. Utopia is a Greek word, and it means nowhere, or no-place, and the colony in this episode is a utopian, a perfect, lifestyle, and it is suggested that an ideal lifestyle like this cannot, and does not exist.The text does not limit itself to a negative view of the emotional lifestyle which the colonists lived in. At the end of the episode, Spock realizes that even after he has returned to his duties, he has learnt something about himself from the experience. While he has his duties and responsibilities, he is capable of emotions, and can be free, even for a short time, to enjoy life.Power Relationships in the textThe two most obvious relationships within the episode are between Captain Kirk and the rest of his subordinate crew members, and between the crew in general and the colonists on the planet. However, events conspire to subvert these relationships.When the crew is affected by the spores of the plant, they mutiny against the captain in order to join the colonists on their perfect world. This breaks down both of the power structures, making them equal with the colonists, and breaking their bonds, and responsibilities with the captain. However, this creates a new relationship between the colonists and the ex-crew members.As a part of a utopian society, they get to enjoy the best of everything, from perfect health, to harmonious relationships and freedom of emoti...

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