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The poem that I am going to talk about is the Unknown Citizen by W.H Auden.

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The poem that I am going to talk about is the Unknown Citizen by W.H Auden. I am going to talk about what I first glimpse in the poem but then after further study what you actually see. At the start of the poem under the title it has a serial number, also it shows that he is getting a monument erected in honour of him. This already gives you an expectation of him. An expectation that he has done something great in his life. When you look at the serial code at first you think that it is a military code or something, you expect a tribute to be personal, not to have a serial number but to have the persons name. At the start of the poem it talks about "One against there was no official complaint", You take this to be a good thing at first but then after further analysis you start to see that the organisations in the poem look for the worst parts of people, they describe the person in the negative. In this society before giving someone a compliment or a commendation they check to see records, at first I just take it that they are looking at records but after further analysis I find out that they keep detailed records on everyone. ...read more.


The Unknown Citizen is boring, predictable, he never done anything different and yet he is getting a statue erected in his honour. The newspapers had a report on him as well, it suggests that the important part of the papers were the adverts, I did not realise this at the time but if the adverts are the most important part of the newspaper then they will have very little news in them. When the poem says "And his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way" this suggests that there is a normal reaction to an advert, I realised that they must spy on people to see what the normal reaction to certain situations. In our lives today a lot of money is spent on advertising, companies change their names to make their product more appealing, they don't just change it at a whim though, they will spend a lot on psychologists to predict what names will be good for their product and which ones wont be, to see how our reactions will be. You think that this society where Social Psychologists spy on them is far away but it is closer than you think. I started to realise this more and more as we got nearer the end of the poem. ...read more.


Yet again he did what he was told, even when it came to adding life to the world. It asks if he was happy and if he was free, to our society these are two of the most basic necessities to have, but in the poem you hear no mention of them, but when it says, "the question is absurd" I think this means that these two qualities don't exist in this society. On the last line it talks about "If anything had been wrong, we should certainly have heard" is yet again negative, the whole poem talks about what he didn't do, not what he did do. In conclusion in this poem we expected the Unknown Citizen to have done something great but we learn nothing about him, we learn nothing about his character because he probably didn't have any, he done everything he was supposed to do. This society is a totalitarian regime, the people are totally led and have no freedom of thought. You reject the poem because you reject the society that he lives in; it is boring to show what kind of society that he lives in. The poem is not that far flung, as you would like it to be, for example in Russia and China. In The Unknown Citizens Society his choices have been taking away. ...read more.

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