The Unknown Citizen

4 PAGES
694 WORDS
Read the full essay 694 words
The Unknown Citizen

Molly A. McGuire

The Unknown Citizen Is Me



?The Unknown Citizen?, a poem written by W.H. Auden, reflects a period of vast change in America?s history, making ?The Unknown Citizen? an example of the government?s view of the perfect modern man in an overrated, unrealistic society.


During the time period that this poem was written, in the late 1930?s, The United States was going through tremendous social, political and economic change. Following the passing of Black Monday and at the onset of The Great Depression, many Americans held negative opinions of their government and the many positive aspects that once drew citizens to the United States were becoming increasingly negative. The Great Depression fundamentally changed the relationship between the government and it?s people. Citizens began to expect and accept a larger federal role in their lives and the economy. During this time period, Americans were issued cards with a personalized federal numbers, better known as Social Security cards, which in turn depersonalized the political system of the United States.


We the people, see our government as a coalition between our leaders and ourselves, leaders that we elect to represent and enforce our values. They merely see us a number. This issue emerges currently with regard to the election of the next president of the United States. The entire issue deals not with the citizens? wants and needs, but with the ?numbers?. We are no longer individuals, but merely a vast pool of insignificant numbers. Numbers that only become imperative when the disparity between them is diminutive. ?Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: Had anything been wrong we should certainly have heard (Auden).? This question is still being asked today, the only difference now is that there is no doubt whether or not the opinions of the masses are being heard. The question remaining is whether or not the government is actually listening to the people.


This poem also expresses that government makes it seem that everyone else is doing the ?right thing?, so you must follow in their footsteps and if you do so your reward is a happy and fulfilled life with all the comforts of the modern man. The standards are constantly changing so that you will never reach the optimum point, therefore you must always strive to improve. This can be seen in the 2000 Presidential Race. We the people have followed the same uniform procedures in determining our presidents since the founding of our country, yet we are now being told these standards are ?outdated? and ?unreliable?, which in turns breaks down our faith and the faith of other countries in our political system. Auden expresses a similar opinion in his poem. He presents the idea of the good society, at best a possibility, yet never actually achievable, but one in which we the people must always work towards. As citizens, we know the obligations of our citizenship, however it often times is the officials we tend to elect that forget their obligations to us. Is this idea not clearly being seen currently in the attempt to elect our 43rd president?


This poem was written at a time when a citizen would rarely voice such an opinionated stance on a subject such as politics. Yet after reading between the lines of the written words of the poem, one can grasp a better understanding the thoughts and feelings of the author concerning the political issues of the era. This poem can shed light on things in a totally different perspective. It can help one to understand that the ways of the ?Modern Man? is not always the best choice. People today move so fast, they never get a chance to slow down and realize that there are more important things in life than being picture-perfect, whatever happened to individuals accepting defeats in their relationships, education and employment? Whatever happened to individuals being humble and honest? Auden?s view of the government, depicted through this poem, uses the ?Unknown Citizen? as an example of the perfect modern man in an overrated, unrealistic society, represented by citizens? views in this poem.



Related Topics

The Unknown Citizen W. H. Auden social security cards w h auden americas history issue deals great depression black monday economic change modern man no doubt disparity president of the united states 1930s time period molly poem citizen social security governments citizens regard

More Free Essays Like This

AIDS: A US Made Monster?
Aids Conspricay - Is AIDS Biological Warfare?
American Labor Movement: Development Of Unions
Americas Involvement In WWII
Ancient Babylonia
Aristotle On Excellence In Leadership
Art, Literature And Society From 1955-1970
Artists Throughout History That Have Self-Destructed
Benjamin Franklin
Capitalism: Ayn Rand/ Maltese Falcon
Causes And Effects Of The French Revolution
Causes Of The Salem Witch Craft Trials
Causes Of WWI
Charles Et Secondat, Baron De La Brede Et De Montesquieu
Christianity In The New World
Cicero
Cigarettes - Addiction And Product Dangers
Civil Liberties
Critical Review Of 1984 By George Orwell
Cruel Treatment From The British Caused The American Revolution
Death Penalty Issues
Development Of The West Beyond The Mississippi
Domestic Violence And Abuse In Australia
Don Quixote
Dr. John Henry Doc Holliday
Drinking Age
Dubliners
Emporer Hadrian Of Rome
England: The City Of Today
Environmental Activism
Events Leading To The American Revolution
Federalist Party
Freedom And Liberty (a Book Review Of George Orwells 1984)
Freedom In The United States
Gangs
Genetic Engineering: A Leap In To The Future Or A Leap Towards Destruc
Google Doc - Stats - Group 1 Assignment
Google Doc - Stats - Group 1 Assignment
Gullivers Travels - Satire In Lilliput
Gun Control
Hobbit Essay
Immigration & Americas Future
Internet Battle Between Phreaks And Administrators
Internet Censorship
Internet Regulation: Policing Cyberspace
Janelle Monroe
JFK
Julius Ceasar
Law: Gideon Vs Wainright
List Of Amendments
Living The Legacy: The Womens Rights Movement 1848-1998
Louis XIV, The Sun King
Madagascar: The Exotic Island
Multiculturalism In Canada
Napoleon And Caesar
New England And The Chesapeake Region Before 1700
Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Grim Prediction Of The Future
NSAs Surveillance and Americans Right
Persian Gulf War-the Feat Of The Western Countries
Plutonium: Our Countrys Only Feasible Solution
Political scientist Robert E. Bedeski of the Unive
Politicians
Pornography On The Internet
Pre-Civil War New Orleans
Puritans And Witches - Natural Enemies
REACTION PAPER IN STATE OF PHILIPPINE EDUCATION
Reverse Discrimination
Richard III
Road Rage: The Scourge Of AmericaS Roadways
Self-defense In Criminal Cases.
Should The Govt. Interfere In An Economy Of A Country?
Slavery: The United Arab Emirates and Dubais Construction Workers
Social And Political Reactions To Mormon Polygamy
The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
The American Civil War
The American Constitution
The Anti-Trust Case Against Microsoft
The Aztec Nation
The Battle Of Little Big Horn
The Borderlands: 1880 - 1940
The Causes And Effects Of World War I
The Color Purple
The Constitution
The Crucible
The Death Of Socrates
The Effects Of The Industrial Revolution
The End
The Holocaust
The Holocaust And Aushwitz
The Holocaust: Buchenwald
The Population Solution
The Presidential Contenders In 1856
The Rebellion Against Victorianism
The Regulators Of North Carolina: Outraged Opressors
The Roots Of Communist China
The Situation In Ireland
The Solidarity Movement In Poland
The Unknown Citizen
The Vietnam War
Thomas Jefferson