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The Unknown Citizen Analysis



Author: Poetry of W.H. Auden Type: Poetry Views: 2585

(To JS/07/M/378/ This Marble Monument

Is Erected by the State)He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be

One against whom there was no official complaint,

And all the reports on his conduct agree

That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was asaint,

For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.

Except for the War till the day he retired

He worked in a factory and never got fired

But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.

Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,

For his Union reports that he paid his dues,

(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)

And our Social Psychology workers found

That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.

The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day

And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in everyway.

Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,

And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left itcured.

Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare

He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan

And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,

A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.

Our researchers into Public Opinion are content

That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;

When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war,he went.

He was married and added five children to the population,

Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent ofhis generation.

And our teachers report that he never interfered with theireducation.

Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:

Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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the posts \"| Posted on 2011-10-06 |\" and \"| Posted on 2012-02-24 | \" by the guests, are fantastic works, very helpful for such students like us, thank you so much whoever you are, thanks again.

| Posted on 2013-03-05 | by a guest


.: :.

This
may only be an analysis of the writing. No requests for explanation or
general short comments allowed. Due to Spam Posts are moderated before
posted.

| Posted on 2012-08-12 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is almost bringing light the mockery of society and its catagorized approach to assessing a persons worth and achievments.The impersonal manner in wich the unknown citizen is described leaves him just that\'unknown!
Where it says the press are convinced he bought the daily paper says that nobody wanted to consider him as an emotional being,but a statistic and a text book version of \"conformity\" in their favor.
To question and answer if he was happy or free,confirms to them that it is ok to live by thier means and ways,as did the unknown citizen in their eyes.
Notice how they call him citizen not man,father or human and his children are no more than population? The use of words such as saint,popular,modern and normal ensures thier reasons for classing him as they have.A man who served the greater community,was fully insured,satisfied his employers and held proper oppinions confirms this also.To say \"we certainly would have heard\" of any indescressions or \"wrong\" is unlikely when the research into who he was,has only been based on his wordly manner in a bias way.
This poem leaves me feling certified into the way in wich people are percieved as a \'number\' so to speak.Also a sense of relief as I would not have enjoyed my life living by those standards.Life is about everything not mentioned in this poem and I surely hope my obituaries are based around my values in this way.
\'The logical song\' by supertramp gives good insight into the meaning of W.H Auden in this brilliant poem.
The personally disregared statistic
or The unknown citizen

| Posted on 2012-02-24 | by a guest


.: :.

THESIS:
Auden’s insight of the concept of control verses freedom brings to light the dangers of losing your sense of individuality, while trying not to upset the balance of power.
The personal pronoun “He” is symptomatic and symbolic in nature. The symbolism used suggests that “he” is your average citizen who having a strong sense of civic duty “he” “…Served the greater community” (5), while properly identifying with his moral obligations and patriotic duty. “When there was peace, he was for peace. When there was war he went” (24). “He” understood the proper functioning of society in the localized and national levels and his role in both. It is symptomatic in the sense that the reader can apply the essence to the contemporary and sociological issues that threaten society as a whole throughout time.
The speaker is probably another everyday citizen who has identified himself with the “Unknown Citizen”. The use of the words “our” and “we” brings into the focus his identification with “the unknown citizen” and emphasizes to the reader that this is representative of all people on some level in a structured society.
The name “Fudge Motors , Inc.” is symbolic and serves as a buffer to contrast the seriousness of life with the joys of living. Work and no play cause problems within any society. While the “unknown citizen” has been portrayed as a “model citizen” he is human, not a robot. He had a social life as “he was popular with his mates and liked a drink” (13).
The attitude of the poetic voice is that he is a “man’s man”. The author’s attitude is that he was “Just a man”. The attitude toward the speaker is “who cares?”
The tone is best said as Shake Sphere put it “To be or not to be”
Auden, W.H.. “The Unknown Citizen.” Literature and the Writing Process. Ed.
Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X. Day, Robert Funk, and Linda Coleman. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. 469.
Posted on 10/06/11 at 10:12 PM
Donald Ray Cowan, Psychology Student
Rose State College, Midwest City, Oklahoma

| Posted on 2011-10-06 | by a guest


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Auden criticizes the government of its behaviour.He does not like the citizen to be deprived of his privacy.Every act of the citizen is known to government.The last two lines clearly says this.

| Posted on 2011-08-08 | by a guest


.: :.

Auden criticizes the government of its behaviour.He does not like the citizen to be deprived of his privacy.Every act of the citizen is known to government.The last two lines clearly says this.

| Posted on 2011-08-08 | by a guest


.: :.

Auden criticizes the government of its behaviour.He does not like the citizen to be deprived of his privacy.Every act of the citizen is known to government.The last two lines clearly says this.

| Posted on 2011-08-08 | by a guest


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i feel that in the poem, auden establishes the widely accepted concept of the average citizen to only pose a question at the end to twist the poem into a sarcastic mockery of society. with society that both engenders and embraces conformity and mediocrity amongst its citizens

| Posted on 2011-02-16 | by a guest


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this is the desired way of life by government for a citizen.
based on authoritis you are supposed to survive not living

| Posted on 2011-01-19 | by a guest


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all the pessimists posting here need to stop. this is an open dialogue between readers who want to share their opinions of the piece in question. Plus, please look up the definition of analysis and you will find that the discussions going on here are just that. Thus, all these contributions are a small piece of the overall analysis.

| Posted on 2010-07-21 | by a guest


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I'm not gonna lie, I'm a student looking for answers and I found enough of them to get my mind ticking.

| Posted on 2010-06-13 | by a guest


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I think this is Auden's interpretation of what the "perfect'' citizen would be like in the eyes of the government. the poem tells how the government may be too omnipotent. it chooses what it thinks we like based on statistics and how the government wants everything to be the same. it wants everyone to conform to it's ways. it's almost like communism.

| Posted on 2010-04-25 | by a guest


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it gave me a perspective..thnx! i feel tht there is a sarcasm on the so called specialized feilds. Their conclusions.. last two lines, try to incorporate the space for feeling, like it would fit in with this kind of a 'mechanical' assesment.

| Posted on 2010-04-07 | by a guest


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-like unknown soldier, because no personal data (e.g. Name, age,...)
-routine life

| Posted on 2010-01-12 | by a guest


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No analysis? The shrill cry of the "guest" hints at a desperate student looking for an easy answer. There are many good comments here. The analysis is as in-depth as one can get on this type of forum.
But yes, I sense some disillusionment through Auden's use of irony where he suggests that the "we" in the poem is the state, and that the citizen had proper opinions. When the state becomes the arbiter of opinions, we have a tyranny. Therefore Auden's tone is one of disillusionment with the modern, materialistic society. He seems to be warning us that a society that knows so much about us is prone to use that knowledge to further its own power.

| Posted on 2009-12-07 | by a guest


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why is everyone complaining how bout you use your own brain and analyze the poem on your own. Some of these ideas written below are good but you have to think for yourself and see what you come up with. I personally think that Auden is using irony to present to us his idea that the govt doesnt care about us were all just a number and its ironic because he describes this unknown citizen with so much detail but in reality he is just an average guy

| Posted on 2009-12-03 | by a guest


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What a retarded and useless site. I hope this site loses its sponsors and therefore money. I hope the creators of this site, made of pure failure, have this site put down. I wish they lost their money wasting people's time with NO analysis whatsoever, only stupid comments by stupid people. And on the site it says 'Summary Explanation Meaning Overview Essay Writing Critique' what a load of pure bullsh*t. Reading the 'analysis' by other people i realise not all people are privileged with a normal brain. I guess I have learnt a lesson.

| Posted on 2009-10-27 | by a guest


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You are an idiot, 2007-11-01 guest. Cos whats the point of the bloody poem if he was happy.
And if i see you i want to smash you cos ur an idiot
Seriously? Fail.

| Posted on 2009-09-08 | by a guest


.: :.

The author is the "Big Brother" and it is implying that they know everything about our lives. The last line states "had anything been wrong, we should have certainly have heard" this means if some thing was wrong they would have know about it.

| Posted on 2009-09-03 | by a guest


.: :.

You are an idiot, 2007-11-01 guest. Cos whats the point of the bloody poem if he was happy.
And if i see you i want to smash you cos ur an idiot

| Posted on 2009-08-22 | by a guest


.: :.

Auden wrote this poem in 1940, and although over sixty five years have passed, this poem rings truer than ever. As technology becomes faster, better, and more accurate, we are becoming less human and more of a statistic. We are "losing our personal identity
and autonomy" (Pippen par.1) in a society where we are labeled, given a number, and are faceless citizens forming together like a sea of ants. Yet we still all want to fit into the society that dehumanizes us. We do not want to be labeled an outcast, or looked down upon as being different. But if all we achieve for all our efforts to be normal is to be part of a statistic, and remembered as a number, what is the point?

| Posted on 2009-03-07 | by a guest


.: :.

Keyword: statistics!
analysists compare the man among others. In such that the man is just made up of numbers, and facts.
Such as "He was married and added five children to the population/Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation..." this is a statistic of which the man is made of!
For the man is considered average and is like other americans that blend into the background of society just like him!
end of story!

| Posted on 2009-02-06 | by a guest


.: :.

“The Unknown Citizen”
This poem which was written by W.H. Auden is about the sort of “new view” of your average Joe in the 20’th century and also in a sense the sort of monotony and drollness of that type of life style. It also ties in elements of an omnipotent government which was a popular belief at the time because throughout the poem a new branch that observes some part of the mans life is able to report on it. The poem is the unknown citizen because even though he was a “saint” who would not refuse to better the community in which he was living so does just about everyone who lives in the neighborhood, so in a sense the work he is doing is not really that important for if he didn’t do it another would. It says that he worked in a factory which I find ironic because his whole life seems to be like an assembly line with the same things occurring daily, go to work, read the paper, etc. Later on in the poem it is found out that he had a wife and five children which is awfully stereotyped to the “Brady Bunch” lifestyle of suburban living. The poem also indicates that he ad no real say in society and was very much a conformist to the popular opinion because the poem says “when there was peace he was for peace; when there was war, he went.” He also owned all the “necessities” that the “Modern Man” should own which is another indicator that he is a slave to popular consumer wants. The last to lines I find are ironic in asking if he was free or happy and that if he wasn’t the “omnipotent” government surely would have heard about it. The answer to the below question is no he was societies slave and being what he was I very much doubt he was happy. I hope this will help

| Posted on 2009-01-19 | by a guest


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This page has no anyalsis, there is nothing here to help you, so i think you should take this page off or put some usefull information on it.

| Posted on 2008-04-12 | by a guest


.: yes :.

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was asaint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in everyway.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left itcured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war,he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent ofhis generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with theireducation.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
YEs

| Posted on 2007-11-01 | by a guest




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