PoetryThe Unknown CitizenW.H. Auden

The Absence of Personal Identity in Auden’s “The Unknown Citizen”

2 Mins read

In W.H Auden’s poem entitled “The Unknown Citizen”. The speaker tells a narrative related to a citizen. The speaker is a bureaucrat who works for the government, for the state and for the associated institutions. The poet, Auden’s view of the citizen, refers back to the life of an unknown man and the Author describe it through the form of a dystopian report. The poem criticizes the modern state’s relationship with its citizen by the eyes of the different authorities organizations and institutions.

As the world progresses so does the technology that surrounds us. With the ever-advancing technological discoveries, innovations, and improvements it appears as if the humanity of the world is depleting. Humans struggle for a personal identity, nevertheless; with technology in the world at present, it places them back at square one. Humans are in a society at present where they’re labelled, given a number, and are being displayed an increasing number of ‘faceless citizens’. Thus, the phrase “The Unknown Citizen” suits the title.

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Now, the sub-title “To JS/07/M/378/ This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State” alludes to the idea of a make-believe idea enforced by the government that each human being has to be categorized by a alpha-numeric tag to differentiate who they’re. Rather than having the ability to have their very own personal identity all through the poem, the person being described is known as “JS/07/M/378”. The random letters and numbers followed by forward slashes are all justified by the government. Each part of letters and numbers is meant to characterize one thing. For instance, the “JS” might discuss with the first letter of his first name and the first letter of his last name; where “M” possibly specifies whether or not she or he is male or female. This citation discovered within the sub-title is an ample instance of the theme of the poem. Humans are being given alpha-numeric names to be distinguished by; in the meantime, they’re struggling for their very own personal identity in a world clustered with the advancing technology

In conclusion, the world at present is continually progressing to be more technologically efficient however on the opposite side of the spectrum, people are striving to have their very own personal identities and to be completely different from each other.

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