How is the modern data driven surveillance state satirized by Auden in The Unknown Citizen?

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jeffclark eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "satire" as: a way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc. : humor that shows the weaknesses or bad qualities of a person, government, society, etc.

Auden, "The Unknown Citizen", reveals the foolishness of a society that knows everything about its citizens, and at the same time knows nothing about its citizens.

They know his work history, his military service history, his memberships, his policies, the number of children he had, whether or not her interfered with their education, but they don't even know his name. He was a "saint", but at the same time he was just a number.

Auden proves himself to be a "man before his time" in that he died in the mid 1970's, before conditions in real society began to mirror the society in his poem.

tanzimumu2 | Student

Thankx Jeff for your answer. It would b a great help for me if you can write it with more details please. I haven't found it anywhere on net and my exam is nearby. What does it mean by Data driven surveillance state?