Mr Nobody Poem Questions And Answers

From the poem "Mr. Nobody", what do we know about Mr. Nobody?

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Mr. Nobody" is an anonymous poem for children that talks about the nature of responsibility. The poem is written in eight line stanzas rhymed abcbdefe and is written in lines of alternating iambic tetrameter and trimeter. The poem lists a group of the typical minor peccadillos committed by young children. 

Mr. Nobody is described as being responsible for all forms of mischief and mishaps in daily life, such as cracking plates, damaging books, losing buttons from shirts, tracking mud into the house, and other similar minor forms of misbehavior. 

At the beginning of the poem, Mr. Nobody is described as odd and quiet; the narrator adds that no one ever has seen him. This and his name tell us that Mr. Nobody doesn't actually exist; instead the poem gently makes fun of children, who an being asked who tracked in the mud or forgot to lock the door, answer "nobody" or refuse to admit that they are the culprits. 

edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Mr. Nobody" was published in 1947 in The Golden Book of Poetry, a collection of works for children.  The poem observes that household responsibilities left undone (oiling the door hinges, closing the doors and shutters), mishaps (breaking a plate, spilling ink), and carelessness (misplacing papers, leaving dirty fingerprints) are all attributed to "Mr. Nobody" when they are clearly attributable to denizens of the house. Mr. Nobody's irresponsibility is being held up for examination in this poem to serve as instruction. Because "nobody" will admit to their failures, "Mr. Nobody" has become the default scapegoat. The poem invites self-reflection and behavior modification.  The fact that the poet chooses to remain anonymous is not so much ironic as it is in perfect keeping with the poem: "nobody" is willing to be the finger-wagging accuser of others for their thoughtlessness.