The Unknown Citizen

The Unknown Citizen

"The Unknown Citizen" is a poem written by W. H. Auden in 1939, shortly after he moved from England to the United States. By describing the "average citizen" through the eyes of various government organizations, the poem criticizes standardization and the modern state's relationship with its citizens. The poem is the epitaph of a man identified only by a combination of letters and numbers somewhat like an American Social Security number, who is described entirely in external terms: from the point of view of government organizations such as the fictional "Bureau of Statistics".

W. H. Auden

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