The unknown Citizen

Topics: W. H. Auden, Government, The Unknown Citizen Pages: 3 (1975 words) Published: October 27, 2014

The poem “ The Unknown Citizen By W H Auden is a poem that pokes fun at the life of a automaton working in a factory. Reading it in a glance, I find the title that catches my very first attention. It is because Auden gives the poem such a title that the whole poem sounds so dramatic and pompous, as if it is dedicated to some citizen who have sacrificed so much for the nation. The citizen, to my dismay, is never named and remains as the unknown one throughout the whole poem. The citizen is referred to JS/07/M/378, which I found to be interesting at first. It was like a code, like how I used to see books or other objects being referred to in places like libraries, but here, I felt the way the citizen was addressed was in a cold manner, as if he was merely an object like other non-living things. Auden pens down these words ; “ This Marble Monument is Erected by the State” , which definitely rings a bell in my mind, why would the government erect a monument made of marble for this unknown person? As far as I know, a monument made of marble, like those tombs of great kings and soldiers are not cheap and are not something made for normal citizen like us. This is when I started to realise that this poem has some deep underlying meaning behind every single sentence. The theme of this poem varies from identity of a citizen to how he gets manipulated throughout his life. In the first two lines; He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to beOne against whom there was no official complaint, portrays the unknown citizen to be found by the Bureau of Statistics not to have any official complaints against him. The citizen was not found by his friends or even his employer but by some government agency. The Bureau of Statistics refers him as “one”, like a thing, who nobody cares to know. It gets creepy as I find the word “found” in this sentence depicts how this unknown citizen is being observed and noted by the higher officials although he is a so called “ unknown...
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