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Published: 28-11-2019

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Analyzing W.H Auden’s Poem, The Unknown Citizen

The title of this poem, “The Unknown Citizen”, is the only time this phrase is talked about and is generally the crucial that the reader will not know the identity of the man. The speaker sounds as if he’s reading off a eulogy that brings out an ironic contrast of this poor man’s life. Although the speaker commends the citizen, his word selections reveal a patronizing tone. He talks about the citizen as if he was a good small boy and the speaker was the teacher. The reader is provided numerous info about the man, but none of it is personal. The rhyme scheme in this poem makes the tone sound a bit humorous but for the most element it’s ironic and sarcastic. At the end, the speaker states that had something been wrong with man, they would have undoubtedly have heard. But when asked if the man was content or totally free, the speaker claims the question is absurd.

The diction in this poem can be deemed complicated. The reader could analyze this poem over and more than once more, and would probably have a distinct opinion about the poem. It’s as is Auden wanted the reader to want to know more to be capable to fill in the gaps. The syntax in this poem is uncommon, in line 5-6 it says, “For in everything he did he served the Greater Community. Except for the War till the day he retired” stating that the man was a saint all throughout his life except for when he was named away to war. The vocabulary in this poem is also old-timey, for example the man was stated to have “Everything required to a Contemporary Man, A phonograph, a radio, a automobile, and a Frigidaire”. This offers the readers the sense that Auden almost certainly wrote this poem for the duration of World War II.

This poem does not use a lot of similes and metaphors. In fact, at times it seems deliberately un-poetic. The only metaphor identified was the comparison among the Unknown Citizen and a saint. The word “saint” is a religious term, so the Unknown Citizen can’t really be a single, except in the contemporary sense. In line 20, it is mentioned that the man had every little thing essential but mentions nothing about the simple necessities required to survive like food, water, etc., making this a hyperbole.

Auden did not use hardly any sound devices in this poem, effectively at least not many that one could choose out. Which is a tiny odd provided that most poets use this to their advantage to generate a greater emotional response from the reader. He certainly had numerous possibilities to and might have created the poem a little a lot more interesting had he accomplished so. The only factor I was in a position to pick up on was the use of alliteration here and there. For instance, in line 21 it says, “A phonograph, a radio, a auto and a Frigidaire” exactly where the consonant becoming repeated would be the vowel A.

Once study out loud, I was in a position to see that this poem did not follow a standard rhyme scheme. It alternates among a couple of distinct, easy rhyme schemes. The poem starts with an ABAB pattern, but then switches to a rhyming couple but soon after that he begins hopping around following a bit. Line 8-13 comply with the pattern ABBCCA, the rhyme scheme starting with the word “Inc.”. I wasn’t sure Auden was going to be able to generate a rhyme but positive adequate in line 13 he utilizes “drink”. The two words are so far away that I didn’t even know they rhymed till I read the poem out loud a couple of instances. Ultimately, the rhythm of the poem roughly centers on the anapest, a metrical foot that has two unstressed beats followed by a stressed beat. For instance in the starting, “He was Discovered by the BUReau of STATistics . . .”

1 key theme of this poem would be the pressing idea that we do not know the identity of this man. The readers are not offered a purpose as to why the citizen is unknown but left to come up with a purpose on their personal. This poem follows the notion that the man followed the rules and lived his life the way our parents inform us to. The “right” way to reside is to discover a job, get married, and have a family, which is what every person believes to be happiness. The man by no means distinguished in any way from his fellow citizens. As an alternative he was just like absolutely everyone else, performing the identical routine day in and day out, and purchasing the identical issues needed for a “Modern Man”. The speaker even goes as far as stating in lines 23-24 “That he held the proper opinions for the time of the year When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.” Giving the readers the sense that the man was like a drone, and living life on auto-pilot.
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