The Unknown CItizen
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|The Unknown CItizen
The Unknown Citizen
“The Unknown Citizen” by W.H. Auden, is a commentary on government and the materialism of modern man. The poem is written in the form of an obituary inscribed on a monument built by the government in commemoration of an average, upstanding, and decent community member. Throughout the passage, the speaker lists facts about the citizen’s life which he believes prove that the deceased was a valuable person. In actuality these facts represent nothing more than the socially accepted values and actions instilled in society by materialistic views. This makes the government appear unconcerned with the true thoughts and feelings of its people, seeing them only as statistics. We can see this in the subtitle “To JS/07/M/378 This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State”. The citizen is being referred to by a number rather than a name.
Auden was very wise in choosing a title for this poem. The Unknown Citizen represents the common ma...
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