Instructor: Nicole Dellasanta
A conforming society
We would think that in such a modern and developed world, people would be encouraged to express their individuality and independent way of thinking, but is that really so? Humans are social animals. As people, we live in a countless social structure, placing a strong emphasis on our need to belong and have strong relationships. Because of these needs we often end up agreeing with thoughts or opinions that do not convey our real feelings. This paper will discuss “The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Auden and “The Nonconformist” by Donald Davie, two emotional and thought provoking poems that share many similarities in which the main theme can be interpreted as humans conforming to society and religion and the quality of life that can be attained by living life with the standards expected from us. The poem, “The Unknown Citizen” portrays from the point of view of the government what or how an ideal citizen should look like. According to the narrator an ideal or saint citizen is one who follows the rules established by the government precisely, a person doesn’t reveal or stand out of the multitude in other words someone who doesn’t question rules and just goes with the flow. “He was found by the bureau of statistics to be one against whom there was no official complaint.“ (Auden, pg. 443). The poems message is that the government although it actively collects statistics and has a large file of information about any given person and never fully understands who that person is. The statistics of a citizen are minimal and understanding the needs of fulfillment and views of that citizen. However rather than a message about the complexity of the human being the poem is a criticism of the state are shown by the sarcastic lines. “Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: had anything been wrong, we should have certainly have heard (Auden pg. 444). By...
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