The Poem “The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Auden is a satire. Its narrator is the state. In this, the state pays tribute and describes a successful and positive product of its efficiency and effectiveness.
In other words, it builds the character later described to the reader as “the perfect citizen.” The narrator speaks as if he is delivering a speech or common tribute using words and phrases that are familiar to the reader. Using such imagery helps the reader paint a clear picture of the character. The subject or character is illustrated as a hardworking, common, tax paying, proud – to -be American citizen living in an obvious post depression setting. The post Depression setting is key, as the reader knows during that time bracket in History, citizens went on the hunt for what was known as the “American Dream.” A driving force to recover and reinvent as well as the thirst to prosper.
The government (or state, as described earlier) by use of statistics wanted to not only show, but also greatly embellish and make grand, its effectiveness and success in its recovery and prosper. The narrator takes a sincere yet ironically humorous approach in doing so. Humorous and ironic because the reader knows that no such person exists as the “perfect citizen ” as described in this poem. It is found that the poem is set during the post depression and post war period.
... to use in the poem. Throughout the poem, Dickinson decides to use certain words to describe "Death" as a human character. Dickinson presents "Death ... arriving and taking the other character in the carriage with him. In the poem, Dickinson shows the reader her interpretation of what ... " (14, 18). In both of these lines, Dickinson has the reader conjure up subtle images of death. The "quivering an chill ...
Supported by the picture painted in the minds of the audience by the speaker’s content. In his content he mentions words and phrases such as; (6) Except for the war ’til the day he retired” (6) “He worked in a factory” (10) “For the Union reports that he paid his dues” (24) “When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.” The audience knows that the work in factories; formation, existence, and belonging of unions; talk of war and peace; are all associated with the post Depression / war era. By that we can define our setting and later on helps us begin our characterization. The narrator uses words and phrases familiar to the reader such as (8), “Fudge Motors Inc.” ; the reader would think it to be Ford Motors Inc.
A technique used by the author for both imagery and humor purposes. The narrator describes the subject in a way that is like the character himself. Common, conversational, easy to understand with a touch of understood humor. The author uses examples from daily life to get the point of humor and fact across to the reader. (20) “And he had everything necessary to the Modern Man” (21) ” A phonograph, a radio, a car, and a frigidaire.” (25 & 26) “He was married and added five children to the population, Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.” Lines 5-15 are clear and accurate examples the narrator gives in better quality detail to clearly state the character’s success in his being common. Although, the above is found to be satirical.
The narrator goes on to describe a man that he himself does not personally know. The character is a nicely complied group of statistics to describe the nonexistent “perfect citizen.” (1) ” He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be (2) One against whom there was no official complaint.” (5) For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.” (7) He worked in a factory and never got fired.” The irony comes into play because the audience knows that there is no such person as the “perfect citizen.” The citizen (s) did complain. The complaints fell upon deaf ears that did not choose to hear or accept them. Why should the state believe that there were flaws in the perfect society of their subject? After all, the Bureau of Statistics did prove such perfection by their records and statistics. And the Bureau does state, challenge, and answer such questions by lines 28 & 29. (28 & 29) “Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: Had anything been wrong we should have certainly have heard.” Notice in line 1 the use of the phrase, “was found”, the word “found” is key.
... told to him by the separate narrator Marlow. Through the frame narrator, Conrad expresses to the reader the theme of the shifting nature ... as the Grove of Death Marlow convinces the frame narrator and also the reader the negatives of colonialism. It is only through ... the confident and mediating narrative account the reader receives from Marlow and the frame narrator Conrad is able to interrogate the ...
It proves that the state had no solid evidence of a “perfect citizen.” Just an implied creation based upon fact on paper. The poem and the statements made within it were very far fetched from reality because they weren’t based on a true story about living, breathing, human being. The poem is a clear criticism of our society, our government, and the people within both. Beginning from the title and dedication, it is to be understood by the conscious and observant reader.
He who will be the audience must be able to recognize and understand its content and what makes it what it is; a satirical, comical, and ironic piece written to fill the purpose of criticizing society.