The Unknown Citizen Vs. Departmental Essay

882 words - 4 pages

The Central purpose of The Unknown Citizen, by W.H. Auden and Departmental, by Robert Frost is very similar. Both authors discuss modern society and how individuals’ lives are nothing when looking at the big picture of society. They would like people to understand what society has become. They both use a great deal of satire to convey their central purpose. They satirize the trends in modern life, and how society looks at different people. The authors are upset that society has forced people to conform to it. They are both dealing with the problems of modern society, and use satire to convey this central purpose.
     Auden’s poem The Unknown Citizen shows what is wrong with society. Auden uses the example of a “hero” who is immortalized with a statue. The satire in this is that the poem is about a man who was never noticed in society. He was a model citizen because the society did not know that he existed. He was a regular blue-collar man; this could have really been millions of different men. The satirical part is that this particular man is a “hero” and is celebrated by the state with a statue. Auden is satirizing the trends of modern society. He is saying that states honor people who they did not know even existed while they were alive. They found this person’s name in a book after he had died. He was a number to them, yet he is looked upon as a hero. If he was such a hero, they should have honored him when he was alive. This man did nothing; he just lived a regular life. It is joke that the state looks at this man as a hero. At the end of the poem Auden raises the question, “Was he free? Was he happy?”. He follows this up with a satirical answer, “The question is absurd: Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard”. This is a joke on the state. Auden is showing that the state knew nothing about this man. All they know is that he did not complain. Auden is showing that modern life is all about just going through the motions and conformity. People can be heroes if they just follow the mold that the government has set forth. This is what Auden is upset about. This man that just went along with everything, he followed and conformed to what the state desired. He was not free; he was “normal in every way”. The only way that the state can judge this man is by statistics, they have no idea if he was happy or believed in what he was doing. They know...

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