Nihal El Aasar
and The Unknown Citizen
I completely agree with the notion that a literary text can reflect the ideas, values and morals of the society that it was created in. Writers or authors of certain texts consciously or unconsciously add references from their time and age in their work. It can either be blatantly apparent or mentioned in a subtle manner. Either way an author can't help but be affected by his surrounding environment. In this essay I'm going to discuss The Unknown Citizen by W.H Auden and George Orwell's famous Animal Farm.
Auden wrote The Unknown Citizen in 1939, a time of authoritarianism and dictatorship in Europe. There was no sense of individuality or identity, and everyone was expected to conform to the state, as a form of obedience and civility. The more you conform the more you were considered to be helpful to the state.
Auden wrote this poem as a kind of ridicule of the society. It is written in a very impersonal manner that serves the purpose of this poem. Auden talks about a citizen who is apparently without any fault, he is portrayed as a person who conforms to all the government's rules and every aspect of his life seems to be known by the government, there is no sense of privacy in the poem and no sense of emotions. The citizen is praised throughout the poem, even though we get the sense that he is quite average, but the poem goes on to show that this is something to be lauded about. He is characterized as a saint, not due to some religious duty of his, but because he served the government perfectly. He did not get fired from his job, he was a...