Unknown Citizen VS The enormous radio

The Unknown citizen by W.H. Auden and The enormous radio by John Cheever both share the same idea about society. Both the poem and the short story are hypocritical and show how "individuals" hide behind the shield of conformity.
In the Unknown Citizen Auden describes the "perfect man", yet in who's eyes does he meet perfection? Thefirst time I read the poem I interpreted it differently than I do now. Ifirst thought that the character was the ideal person who reached ultimate perfection yet as I read it a second time I realized I was wrong. In all of the lines that I thought were complimentary, as I reread them I found them very impersonal and vague. In line nine Auden says "he wasn't odd in h is ways", In lines fourteen -fifteen "he bought the paper everyday…reactions …were normal in every way", and also in line twenty-three ""he held proper opinions for this time of year".
I read all of these as very general, like the speaker is rewarding him for being a perfect clone of what every one else is. The speaker in this poem is always referred to as'we' therefor the speaker must be society. In the conclusion of the poem the speaker questions wether the man was happy and free and answers it himself by saying the question is absurd and if he was not okay, they would know. Yet Im sure everything was not perfect in this mans life, but they didn't know.
I also interpreted the title differently, "the unknown citizen" this also contributed to my idea of this man being just like everyone else. Because he is unknown for his accomplishment because it is the norm, he did nothing more and nothing less than what was expected of him. He didn't get fired and noone complained about him yet the speaker doesn't go on to explain the important role he played. The speaker identifies the man as "JS/07/m/378″.


I'm Sandulf

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out