The Lost Soul Essay Research Paper The

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.


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