The Lost Soul Essay, Research Paper
The subject of W.H. Audens ?Unknown Citizen? not only has to do with one particular mans
life, but could apply to the life of just about anyone. The theme of the poem is that the man being
discussed in this section , is an all round normal guy. Many of his attributes resemble the typical
person. W.H. Auden enriches this poem not only by having an implicit theme but through the use of
such elements of poetry such as, rhyme, speaker, setting, and situation.
This poem was written in the mid 1900?s. This selection was inscribed on a marble
monument, which was erected by the state. This suggests that the speaker is the people of the state.
Therefore, the speaker is addressing the reader of the monument. It is a story about a man who was
best described as a saint. He served his community to the best of his ability during those years. ?
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war he went ( 939).? He was a typical
American man who worked for the same company until the day he retired. He was married and
brought five children into the world. By having an insurance plan, a phonograph, radio, car and a
refrigerator he was said to have everything necessary to the modern man. During that particular time
it was said that this was the average way of life. Which in turn, made this man all the more common.
The elements that the poem uses such as rhyme, speaker, setting, and situation make the
poem all the more interesting. It not only takes one reading of the poem to understand it?s depth but
two or three. I personally found that when I read it aloud it seemed to take on a lot more meaning. In
this poem W.H. Auden makes good use of the rhyme scheme. Almost every other line rhymes
with the one right before it. By doing this it gives the poem some what of a rhythm. Having rhyme
and rhythm in a poem definitely makes it more amusing to read.
The setting described in the poem is important. Because in the mid 1900?s Americans had
ended the war and people were starting to get back on their feet. By having this poem inscribed on a
monument it stood for all the ?Unknown Citizens? that had put forth an effort to help their country.
Similar to the monument known as ?The Unknown Solider.? This inscription gave credit where credit
was due. The monument was there for all the people of the state to read.
In conclusion, the last line says it all, ?Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard (939).? The meaning of this line
represents the fact that we do not know if this man was free or happy. But he lived a life that was the
traditional American way. What if he had done some unjustified thing in his life, he would definitely
not be remembered on a marble monument. And he most likely would not have been be considered
to be a saint.