THE UNKNOWN CITIZEN
- W. H. AUDEN
A marble monument marks the burial site of a citizen known only by his alphanumeric identity: 'JS/07M378'
In words etched on the monument, the government praises the 'Unknown Citizen' for supporting and conforming to the will of the State.
For example, he always held government- approved opinions, never once advocating a controversial idea. If the government declared war, he did not question the decision. Instead he put on his uniform and followed the crowd to the battlefield. If it declared peace, he accepted that decision too and returned to society. In short, he led a life of exemplary docility and submissiveness.
Moreover, he was consistent, holding the same job for his entire life. Not one to arouse discontent on the job, he never said or did anything to anger company bosses or union representatives. When reading the paper, he avoided pursuing stories about controversial or upsetting events and instead turned his attention to advertisements. At home, he supported the national economy by having all the right things - a phonograph, a radio, a car and a refrigerator.
To his credit, the government euginicist found, he had right number of children. By being a good sheep and following the government shepherd, h without doubt led a happy, contended life.