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If by Rudyard Kipling – Analysis

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The poem ‘If’ is directed to Kipling’s son, and is a message to him on his route to manhood. This is seen in the very last line of the poem, when Kipling writes: “And- which is more- you’ll be a Man, my son! ” The poem is about setting goals, taking risks, being a leader and self-belief, but all in moderation. An example in the text is: “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you. But make allowance for their doubting too”. Kipling tells his son to believe in himself but to never be over-confident. Throughout the poem, Kipling writes what it takes to be a man, and what his son should aspire to be.

The purpose of the poem is to both inspire and warn the reader. An example in the text is “If you can dream- and not make dreams your master;”. This phrase inspires readers to dream and set goals in their life, through hardships and failures. However, it also warns readers to never let these dreams consume them, and to be able to detach from these dreams when they need to. This phrase sends a message to keep a balance. You can work towards a dream, but it should not be all you work towards, and you should not be a slave to that dream. Throughout the poem ‘If’, emotion is expressed.

At the start of the poem (stanza 1), the emotion is generally quite sad and more depressing then the rest of the poem. This is shown in the second line “Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;”. However, as the poem progresses the emotion of the poem becomes happier and more inspirational. This is shown in the line “Or walk with Kings- not lose the common touch”. The poem seeks to make the reader reflect on their own life and to compare the attitudes and feelings to the ones described in the poem. Kipling uses many writing techniques in his poem to help get his message across.

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A few of these include personal pronouns, repetition, and personification. An example of personification in the text is: “Except the Will which says to them”, where Kipling personifies a will. Kipling uses personal pronouns such as “you” to make the reader feel as if the poem is directed to them, and therefore make it more personalised. This use of personal pronouns could inspire readers, as the feel they are being directly spoken to. Kipling uses repetition to emphasize certain points, an example of this in the text is “if you can”.

This phrase is also repeated to inspire, as readers may think, “If I can do something, I’ll be able to get this”. The poem is made up of four octaves. Every other line of the poem rhymes with each other (e. g. ABAB rhyming structure). The first line of the poem has eleven syllables and the second has ten syllables this pattern continuous throughout the poem, with every other line having 11 syllables. Throughout the poem there are only two main sentences, from stanza one to three, and the last stanza is its own sentence. In the poem a semi-colon or colon splits the main phrases up.

The lack of punctuation throughout the poem makes the poem easier to read, as it is almost one collective thought. Kipling could possibly be showing the confusion in a boy’s head when entering manhood. The poem is almost constructed as an instructional manual, as the language of the poem is quite descriptive and somewhat instructional, yet mainly simple words are used throughout the poem. This is shown in the first two lines, where Kipling writes: “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you”.

This type of language is quite appropriate as it is supposed to be directed to his son (so simple words are used), and is a guide towards how his son should act (so the instructions in the poem are clear). Using this type of language the instructions are easy to understand. Kipling uses various techniques to get different images in the reader’s head; commonly used techniques include metaphors and personification. An example of personification in the text is “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same.”

Where Kipling personifies Triumph and Disasters as two people who have betrayed someone. An example of a metaphor in the poem is “If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run”, where he uses running as a metaphor for life. In this metaphor Kipling says you must try you’re hardest all the time, even if it leaves you exhausted, which is what running does. These different forms of imagery could have been written in order to make the reader imagine and dream. Therefore, they can get a better understanding of what message the writer may be trying to convey.

The poem ‘If’ has a regular rhythm following the pattern of an iambic pentameter. An example in the poem is (where the capitalised words are stressed syllables): “if YOU can KEEP your HEAD”. The regular rhythm of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable is quite calming and reassuring. The poem flows very well and it is almost written like a song. This steady rhythm allows readers to be inspired, as they are reassured by the calmness of the poem. Kipling uses alliteration throughout his poem to emphasise key points.

An example in the text is when Kipling writes “Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools”. In this sentence a hard ‘t’ sound starts three different words. The hard ‘t’ sounds could be said to reinforce negativity in the sentence. The last two words of the line have a ‘f’ sound at the start which could be said to reinforce the ‘fools’ sound. The last word of every other line in the poem rhyme with each other (e. g. ABAB) rhyming structure. For example “not make dreams your master… Meet with Triumph and Disaster”. This structure could be implemented to make the poem more interesting.

I feel like this poem was written very well as through the use of many techniques it does achieve the poet’s purpose, which is to inspire. The poem is written in a very easy way to understand, as the language is relatively simple, the rhythm is regular, great imagery is used and the poem is structured well. The poem teaches one to be a leader, to have a strong work ethic and to be self-righteous, yet always be able to detach from these things when necessary. Due to the strong message the poem conveys and great craftsmanship, I really enjoyed this poem.

Analysis and Summary of If by Rudyard Kipling

English ISU Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865 and through the years of living in Bombay, he learned about the British Empire. Kipling gave much too English literature and wrote poetry, short stories, and novels1. When Kipling was five, his parents sent him to boarding school in England so he could learn more about his British background. While living in England, Kipling was inspired by the imperialistic views of the British demonstrated around the world. During his school years, Kipling had a very difficult at boarding school. He was physically abused throughout his time in college.

After finishing college in 1882, he returned back to India to work as a journalist and editor. Also in 1882, Kipling married an American woman Caroline Balestier and immediately moved to America to live with her. He stayed in Vermont until 1899, and went back alone to England to write literature. The majority of his poems dealt with his opinion of inspiration and imperialism. An analysis of “If” and “The White Man’s Burden” makes it clear that Rudyard Kipling uses literary devices effectively to fortify his message of inspiration and imperialism. If” is one of Kipling’s best known poems and it contains one of his most powerful messages of inspiration. In the beginning of the second stanza in “If”, Kipling uses personification “If you can dream- and not make dreams your master. ” The beginning of the stanza focuses on reality; dreaming is good, but do not let it take control of yourself. Meaning, there are other important goals in life that are needed to be achieved. The second personification used by Kipling is on line 10 and 11 “If you can meet with triumph and disaster/ and treat those two imposters the same. This explains that failure is a benefit; mistakes are guaranteed to happen. No one is perfect and people learn from their missteps. The final personification on line 21 and 22 Kipling uses is “If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew/ To serve your turn long after they are gone. ” This means to put your heart and nerve into your actions in the future and learn from the past. Also, having to accept the past and move on from it with your heart and gut. Alliteration is expressed twice in “If” to fortify Kipling’s thoughts and expressions throughout his poem.

In line 12, the alliteration “treat those two imposters just the same. ” emphasizes Kipling’s point of treating people with equity and respect. This quote implies how Kipling sees society's disapproval towards other people and he interprets that everyone including (imposters) should be fairly treated without criticism or judging based on societal influences. Another example of Alliteration is “With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,” on line 30, expressing Kipling’s opinion of time. Meaning to try and put an effort in constantly; even when feeling exhausted.

Repetition and diction is used in “If” to strengthen Kipling’s message of inspiration. First off, “you” is used repeatedly in the poem to enrich Kipling’s message directly to the reader “The white man’s burden”, is one of Kipling’s best views of imperialism throughout the poem. In lines 19 and 20, Kipling uses the personification “Fill full the mouth of famine/ and bid the sickness cease. ” Thus Kipling proclaims that the imperialist nation is going to aid and feed the conquered land.

Kipling uses another personification in the sixth stanza "Nor call too loud on freedom/ To clock your weariness". Thus, Kipling explores the meaning of individual freedom and that the use of individual freedom should not be an excuse to cover up ones weariness. Also, not aiding others by refusing to “Take up the White Man`s burden”. Anaphora is used in “The White Man’s Burden” to give emphasis to Kipling’s points. The first example is found in the fourth stanza, “The ports ye shall not enter, /The roads ye shall not thread,” have the same “The _ ye shall not _”.

This represents Kipling’s repetitive thoughts of the imperial nation being denied to enter and live in the captured nation. Another example of anaphora is used in the sixth stanza “By all ye cry or whisper, / By all ye leave or do”. Kipling is poetically conveying the ruling of the conquered nation founded by the bequest of the imperial territory. Kipling also expresses the poems theme of Imperialism with the significant use of repetition and allusion. The line “Take up the White Man’s Burden-” is used at the start of each stanza establishing the basis of the poem.

Poetry Analysis If by Rudyard Kipling

English 113 9 November 2012 Poetry Analysis by Rudyard Kipling “If” As I analyze this poem, I get a sense of life’s challenges and how someone can overcome those who refuse to take accountability for their own actions. Considering the poem using point of view, I wonder whether it is being told from the point of view of Rudyard Kipling or not. Is “If” the story of Kipling himself? Is it an ideal he aspired to or something he attained? If he did attain it, is it something he attained and knew he attained it, or something he attained and still didn’t realize it?

Perhaps the answers to some of those questions are beyond the scope of this paper, but Kipling’s life can help us understand the poem more completely. Kipling was born in Bombay, India, in 1856. He always had tales that he was writing for children, including his own children (Poetry Foundation). Sadly one of his children died at the age of eighteen, fighting the Irish Guards (Bhaskart, Rao). Kipling himself suffered bullying growing up and was often punished by his parents.

This poem expresses the importance of an individual taking and accepting the responsibility for their own lives—including their mistakes—and not blaming others. The poem has two important lessons. The first is that we are all equal. Don’t put yourself above anyone else, but know that you are just as good as everyone else, so don’t let anyone else put themselves above you. The second is that you should believe in yourself, even when everyone doubts you. Don’t believe in lies people say about you—or about anyone else. Tell the truth, believe the truth, and behave truthfully, not matter what those around you do.

These lessons come from the point of view of a father instructing his son; naturally, we could also look at it as coming from the point of view of any older man to any younger man—an emotional or spiritual father-son relationship—but it seems the intent of the author was clear that this poem was directed to his physical son. This poem is a beautiful personal goal and an inspiration for anyone who wishes to be a better individual; it acts as light on a dark night. It is exactly the kind of talk a father might give to his son about growing into a good man.

People sometimes talk about becoming productive members of society, but Kipling seems to take a different approach in this poem. Making “one of of all your winnings” and risking “it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,” and then losing it all and having to “start again at your beginnings” (lines 17-19)—this kind of encouragement hardly seems like it’s rooted in productivity being the measure of a man. Instead, Kipling talks about the importance of making the right choices, and how those choices can have a huge effect on someone’s life.

The poem also says to have confidence in your actions and to not allow anyone to say that you cannot do it. Don’t let anyone push you down, Kipling says, or doubt your competence, and don’t let those people stop you from reaching your goals. “If you can dream and not make dreams your master” talks about daring to dream; yet not letting that dream control your life (Paul, Halsall). Accept your dreams as yours; however, don’t mistreat others to get there. Again using lines 17-19 as our evidence, we see that Kipling also suggests that we must always learn from our mistakes and not ignore them.

Line 20 describes his interpretation of this kind of behavior: “Never breathe a word about your loss. ” We all have a lot to learn. We can learn from bad choices, by not committing the same mistake again, but complaining about our mistakes or our losses does no one any good. If there are roadblocks in your path of life, it is okay to make adjustments to your course and sometimes even to make U-turns; however, use it as learning a lesson for what is to come: If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools. (13-16) The most important lesson here is to never give up. It is very hard to get back on your feet after life has beaten you into the ground. If circumstances throw you off, get back on your feet and don’t let that cheat you out of reaching your goals. Instead, put all the broken pieces together to make you a stronger person. When you are stronger it is easier to encounter life’s challenges. In two sections, the poem also talks about recognizing the truth and speaking the truth, and how the truth can affect both you and those around you.

In the first, Kipling addresses the mindset he wanted his son to have when doubts and lies were directed at him: If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise. (3-8) Believe in yourself, Kipling says, even when everyone doubts you; don’t believe the lies people say about you or anyone.

The second section that deals with honesty deals more with a person being honest with himself: If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools. (11-14) Kipling continues this theme in the fourth stanza: “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, / Or walk with Kings, nor lose the common touch. ” Strive to be successful, but don’t let being successful fool you. Continue to help others and be nice to them.

Don’t get lost in the world of money and luxury. Help others who need you. Don’t be selfish and concentrate only on your needs and wants (Paul, Halsall). We might use the phrase today, “Be true to yourself. ” As Shakespeare in one of his plays had a father (Polonium) advise his son (Laertes): “This above all: to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man” (Hamlet 1. 3. 78–82). Being kind and true to yourself, your family or anyone that walks in your life, can bring you many rewards.

My analysis of this poem might be different from other analysis that you may have read, but it is my understanding of it and how I took this poem and put it on my life. Kipling was very realistic and clear in his words, and everyone can learn something from it. This poem was written in 1910 and it still applies today. No matter how many years have passed since it was written, it can always be applied to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. This poem, in general, is about living by what is often called the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Think about the bad you don’t want for yourself and don’t do it to others.

Above all odds—and above his troubled childhood—Rudyard Kipling became a courageous and honest man. He knew how hard life can be, so he wrote this poem to his son teaching him solutions to life’s problems. That was the main reason he wrote this poem: He wanted his son to become a good man (poetry foundation). According to Kipling, getting through this life with all the challenges, good or bad, and making the right choices and being proud of yourself, being happy with your winnings, and learning from your mistakes these will help you achieve the best reward: to be a man (Geofrey, Wansell).

Work Cited Geofrey, Wansell. “The Remarkable Story Behind Rudyard Kipling’s If. ” Daily Mail. 15 Feb. 2009. Web. 8 Nov. 2012. Paul, Halsall. “Modern History Source Book. ” Rudyard Kipling: If. July 1998. Web. 8 Nov. 2012. Poetry Foundation. Web. 8 Nov. 2012. Rao, K. Bhaskara. "Rudyard Kipling. " Critical Survey Of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-7. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.

If by Rudyard Kipling – Analysis essay

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on If by Rudyard Kipling – Analysis

What Does If By Rudyard Kipling Mean?
If" is a poem by Rudyard Kipling that was first published in 1895. The poem, which is now considered to be a classic, is written in a very specific and structured style, and it is full of advice and guidance. In general, the poem is about how a person can achieve success in life by following a set of specific guidelines. The poem has been extremely popular over the years, and it has been translated into many different languages."
What Is The Message Of The Poem If By Rudyard Kipling?
The poem If" by Rudyard Kipling is a poem that encourages readers to think about what it takes to be a good person. The poem lists a number of qualities that are important in life, such as honesty, bravery, and strength of character. The poem also emphasizes the importance of never giving up, even when things are tough."
What Is If By Rudyard Kipling About?
The poem If" by Rudyard Kipling is about a set of standards to live by in order to be successful and happy. The poem begins with the speaker saying that if one can keep their head when all around them are losing theirs, and maintain their composure when everyone else is panicking, then they are on the right path to success. The speaker goes on to say that if one can trust themselves when all others doubt them, and continue to push forward even when everyone else is saying that they will fail, then they will achieve great things. The speaker concludes by saying that if one can always keep their head held high, no matter what life throws their way, then they will be truly successful and happy."
What Is The Theme Of Poem If By Rudyard Kipling?
The theme of poem if" by Rudyard Kipling is on the advice given to a young man on how to be successful in life. The poem talks about how a person needs to have certain qualities like honesty, loyalty, and self-control to be successful."
What Is The Tone Of The Poem If By Rudyard Kipling?
The tone of the poem If" by Rudyard Kipling is one of advice and wisdom. The speaker is giving advice to a young person on how to live a successful and meaningful life. The speaker is urging the reader to be honest, to work hard, and to always be prepared for the worst. The tone is optimistic and encouraging, but also realistic."

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