Monday, April 9, 2012

"The Unknown Citizen" and "Harrison Bergeron" Essay

"The Unknown Citizen" and "Harrison Bergeron" Essay

From personal experience I find it very complicated to analyze poems. I find it even more complicated to compare two equally amazing poems. This is due to the fact that when analyzing or comparing poems one is stating his or her opinion, thus it is very subjective. What is even harder is comparing a poem with a short story. Though, in this short paper I would like to compare a poem “Unknown Citizen” and a short story “Harrison Bergeron” by imminent authors W.H. Auden and Kurt Vonnegut. This poem and a story are in many ways alike especially in the subject matter they cover, which is the role of man in the today’s industrialized world where the morals and values tend to disappear.

We can write a custom essay on "The Unknown Citizen" and "Harrison Bergeron" for you!


“The Unknown Citizen” is a poem written by W.H. Auden. The poem reflects a very hard period in the history of the United States of America – the Great Depression. It was the period of change in the way the citizen perceived the government as well as the way the government perceived them. Auden makes the “Unknown Citizen” an example of the government’s view of the perfect modern man. The tone of the poem is both ironic and chilling. The poem is made very bright and distinctive by Auden’s use of metaphors throughout the text.

The poem assumes that for the government men are just simple numbers, all the same, all equal, indistinctive. The poem “Unknown Citizen” weeps for the loss of individuality, personal identity and uniqueness. The author is howling for those times, thus this poem can be considered to be written in the nostalgic tone. The poetic form of the poem underlines in looking backward to lost times, lost individuality and lost morality. When reading the poem one may see that the author is at all times showing the absences, the absence of something that was dear to him. In that context the absence is the Citizen who had changed greatly and would never be the same.

The short story by Kurt Vonnegut was written also in very complicated times. Though, not of Great Depression, but of the Cold War. Kurt Vonnegut in his short story presents how everybody in the modern world is made equal by various political movements. He, in fact, does not deny that all people are created equal, with endless potential and everyone should have an opportunity to achieve what he/she wants (Longenbach). At the same time, Vonnegut thinks that people are not the same and it is impossible to avoid leveling between those who achieved different things.

Both pieces the poem “The Unknown Citizen” and short story “Harrison Bergeron” portray a conflict between individualism and government control and desire to generalize everyone. The authors are sad that the government has taken full control of the people persuading them that what the laws say is true. The authors are mourning for the times when a human was individual, had a free choice and was not influenced by the power of bureaucrats. Another idea pointed out by both authors is that the modern government learned how to manipulate human intelligence to the point that it ultimately has total control over not only people’s lives, but also minds.

  • CAUTION! Free essay samples & essay examples on "The Unknown Citizen" and "Harrison Bergeron" are 100% plagiarized!!!
At - professional essay writing service - you can buy custom essays on "The Unknown Citizen" and "Harrison Bergeron" topics, 100% written from scratch. employs top-rated Ph.D. and Master's experts only to write superior-quality custom essays, term papers, research papers, thesis & dissertations at affordable rates. knows HOW effectively to help high school, college & university students with writing the highest grade custom papers online.
Custom Essay on The Unknown Citizen and Harrison Bergeron
Enjoy Our Professional Essay Writing Service!

No comments:

Post a Comment