The Unknown Citizen
Wystan Hugh Auden
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)
1. He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
2. One against whom there was no official complaint,
3. And all the reports on his conduct agree
4. That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint, 5. For in everything he did he served the Greater Community. 6. Except for the War till the day he retired
7. He worked in a factory and never got fired,
8. But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
9. Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
10. For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
11. (Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
12. And our Social Psychology workers found
13. That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
14. The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day 15. And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way. 16. Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured, 17. And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured. 18. Both Produce Research and High-Grade Living declare
19. He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan 20. And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
21. A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
22. Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
23. That he held the proper opinions for the time of the year; 24. When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went. 25. He was married and added four children to the population, 26. Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation, 27. And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education. 28. Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
29. Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
Questions and activities
1. Look for the sources of information through which we can draw an image of the Unknown Citizen. What do they have in common? 2. What aspects of...
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