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The Unknown Citizen

W.H. Auden

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I Feel
Added by: Faro
Based on what the poem offers us, we find that the epitaph by the state is based on purely quantatative analysis of the citizen and the last two lines are a qualatative judgement. The irony contained within this statement by the State, I feel, opens our eyes to the reality that the State can and will construct symbols (a monument in this case) that are in direct contradiction to their usual methods of doing things, as a form of propaganda. It would only seem reasonable that those in the State would assume that a layman would aspire to have a statue created in memory of them. By creating such a statue, you give the mass public an incentive to live more like that idealized figure, or symbol of "the perfect citizen". It creates, as well as maintains common stereotypes about what the ideal citizen should be.
Added by: Prof. Omiom
Well this peom contains irony with the tittle. Obviosly everything there is to know about this man is is known, but he is still unkown. This is because everyone else is just like him. Since everyone is the same it is hard to tell anyone apart. Perhaps this peom describes everyone, because they are all the same. I am sooo smart.
Added by: Jane Smith
The title, “The Unknown Citizen,” is ironic because from the poem, it seems that very much information is known about the citizen. Auden includes needless information such as, “he bought a paper every day” (14), making it clear that this man is not in fact “unknown”. The state has records of a man’s life, down to his opinion, feelings, and reactions but no one knows whether he was happy. He molds so perfectly into the daily routine of life, in harmony with government affairs, that there’s no reason for anyone to truly get to know him.
Auden is using a type of sarcastic irony to explain that the government’s ideal citizen is unknown to the world. According to the poem, because he fit in well with society and based his opinion on the government’s decisions, he was a happy, free citizen. However, Auden’s interpretation of this man’s life is very different. Due to the governments idea of a perfect society of how citizens are supposed to think and act, those who cooperate are praised. However those same citizens who are praised are also unknown. The people who challenge the boundaries and dare to think different, are the ones who are known and remembered.
unknown citizen
Added by: kalpana bhagwat
I think that this poem, though written for more than 70 years, the subject is very much relevant today. I believe that the Industry is very cruel. It needs people but do not want to recogmize their contribution. Any worker is not a machine. In the year F.W.Taylor had advocated this in his theory. But the industry has failed to understand this. Today every man is a machine. More the hours you work and more the exploitation you face; better the money you get and the least the name you get. Your death comes to an end without your name. Industry squeezes you in such a way that you forget you freedom and happiness and name and fame and esteem and the self within. You are not worth recalled by your name. Today irespective of the modern technology and automation man is experiencing death every moment. He is just dead man walking today. After death nobody would know and find even his marble slate
kalpana bhagwat

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