London by William Blake

As requested, I’m uploading our notes our notes from today’s discussion on William Blake’s London. We will return to the poem in another couple weeks so make sure you keep your notes handy.

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The Unknown Citizen by W.H. Auden

The Unknown Citizen is a poem written by W. H. Auden in 1939, shortly after he moved from England to the United States. The poem was first published on January 6, 1940 in The New Yorker, and first appeared in book form in Auden’s collection Another Time.

Again, we are going to have a Roundtable Discussion analyzing the poem. Please remember to reply to the discussion questions then make comments to your peers.

You can access the Parlay below:

THE UNKNOWN CITIZEN BY W. H. AUDEN
(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation. And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.