The Unknown Citizen Analysis Essay

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“The Unknown Citizen,” written by W. H. Auden, is a poem that describes the life of man lived a life that most people would see as ideal. The man illustrated by this poem did what society expected him to do which resulted in a model life. This poem, however, can be seen in more than one way. Some may see the story in the poem as a description of a man who had an unfulfilling life because he did only what was expected of him. Instead of trying something new, exploring the world, or making a change, the man did what everyone else did. W. H. Auden’s poem can be seen from two perspectives: the man lived an ideal life that many people sought to have and the man lived an unfulfilling, ordinary life which caused him to blend in with the rest of society. …show more content…
Since the man simply fit in with the rest of society, he has become unknown. The title of the poem, “The Unknown Citizen,” hints at the idea that the man is not remembered by most of the world. Since he did not do anything unique or unordinary, he did not leave a mark that people would remember which would cause him to be unknown to most of the world. The man decided not take any risks or try with his life or try something adventurous. The speaker of the poem does ask the reader about how he or she feels about the man’s actions. “Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: / Has anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard” (28-29). There was nothing necessarily wrong with the man’s life, however, he could have chosen to do something different with his life. People should not have to do what society expects in order to have a good, fulfilling life. The poem also describes that he did not divert from the norm in his views. The speaker states, “Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views” (9). Instead of thinking outside of the norm, his views and opinions were ones that were acceptable to the rest of society. What the speaker is trying to convey is the man could have chosen to be someone unique and make a difference in the world, but instead he blended in with the rest of

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