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The Unknown Citizen

The Unknown Citizen

by W. H. Auden

Manipulation Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education (line 27)

This point is kind of buried near the end of the poem, but it’s really important. If parents show no involvement in their kids’ education, the State gains that much more influence over what children learn. Many of the twentieth’s centuries most ruthless and manipulative governments, including Nazi-era Germany and China during the Cultural Revolution, used public education to indoctrinate students with harmful ideas.

Quote #8

Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard. (line 29)

This line is both funny and bone chilling. If we lived in this society, we wouldn’t want the State to know about our problems. The State has a different idea of what it means for things to be going "wrong" than the individual does.

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