The Way Society Treats Individuals

Topics: W. H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen, Government Pages: 2 (476 words) Published: May 24, 2009
What is a society? According the Oxford dictionary, it’s a particular community of people living in a country or region, and having shared customs, laws, and organizations. So can an individual be treated just as equally by the society without sharing the same laws, customs, and organizations? The Unknown Citizen by W.H. Auden and anyone lived in a pretty how town by e.e. cummings both express different reactions from the society towards an individual based on their actions.

In the poem The Unknown Citizen, W.H. Auden portrays the man as someone who lives his life for the betterment of the society. The poem starts off by saying that the man had, “…no official complaint…” and that “…everything he did he served the Greater Community…” Further reading shows that the government seemed to know every little detail about his life from if he bought paper every morning to what items he had in his house. The poem describes how the man goes with the flow by saying that, “…when there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went…” He was respected and liked by everyone because he did not choose to differ his opinions from the rest of the people. Even though all these materialistic details were known about the man, the government does not know his true feelings and opinions about everything, which is clearly stated in the end of the poem when it says, “…was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd…”

In anyone lived in a pretty how town, e.e. cummings clearly shows the negative attitude the society shows towards “anyone“. In the poem, it mentions that “anyone,” “…sang his didn’t he danced his did…” which says that he was a happy individual while the “someones” and “everyones” were not. And so, “…women and men…cared for anyone not at...
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