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Please give a detailed explanation of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling.

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shafu | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted January 16, 2009 at 1:26 AM via web

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Please give a detailed explanation of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling.

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troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 16, 2009 at 2:44 AM (Answer #1)

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The first stanza touches on several character traits: self-confidence, courage, patience and honesty.  His words "If you can keep your head," "If you can trust yourself," and "If you can wait and not be tired by waiting" show those traits.

The second stanza deals with what you may do for the public, yet not have personal reasons or gain behind it.  You can face trouble as easily as you face success, and you can take something that broke--even though you worked so hard for it--you can rebuild it all over again. That shows a hard work ethic.

The third stanza speaks of taking everything you've worked for and risk it all, and then lose it and have to start again.  The key to that is not telling anyone of your loss.  That shows integrity. That's in the line "And lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breath a word about your loss."  Then it says you must take all you have within you, and when you are at your lowest point, you still have to have the will to try.  This shows perseverance.

The final stanza speaks of you being able to work with anyone and not change who you are or what you stand for.  This poems says that if you can do all of these things, the world is yours and you can be truly called a Man.  "Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, and-which is more-you'll be a Man my son!"

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vishal234 | Student, Grade 9 | Valedictorian

Posted June 16, 2009 at 9:44 PM (Answer #2)

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The first stanza touches on several character traits: self-confidence, courage, patience and honesty.  His words "If you can keep your head," "If you can trust yourself," and "If you can wait and not be tired by waiting" show those traits.If these traits are absent then they would be the great obstacles for the leader.
These are as follows:-
- irrationality ("keep your head...")
- doubt in oneself  ("trust yourself)
- impatience   ("wait and not be tired by waiting")
- petty behavior  ("don't deal in lies")
- immoderation    ("don't look too good...")

The second stanza deals with what you may do for the public, yet not have personal reasons or gain behind it.  You can face trouble as easily as you face success, and you can take something that broke--even though you worked so hard for it--you can rebuild it all over again. That shows a hard work ethic.Thus from this stanza , the hindrances which have to be overcome are as follows:-
- being unrealistic  ("not make dreams your master")
- postponing ("not make thoughts your aim")
- overreacting  ("meet with triumph and disaster")
- weakness    (be able to withstand misfortune)

The third stanza speaks of taking everything you've worked for and risk it all, and then lose it and have to start again.  The key to that is not telling anyone of your loss.  That shows integrity. That's in the line "And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss."  Then it says you must take all you have within you, and when you are at your lowest point, you still have to have the will to try.  This shows perseverance.Therefore this stanza shows following obstacles faced by a leader  to become a man in the aggresive world:
- worry and fear ("risk...and lose and start again")
- being self-serving ("never breathe a word" about loss)
- quitting ("hold on when there is nothing in you)

The final stanza speaks of you being able to work with anyone and not change who you are or what you stand for.  This poems says that if you can avoid all of these things, the world is yours and you can be truly called a Man.  "Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, and-which is more-you'll be a Man my son!".Thus finally , obstacles which have to be removed for the survival in this pathetic world :
- pride and arrogance ("keep virtue and common touch")
- dependency ("If all men count with you, but none too much")
- wasting time   ("If you can fill the unforgiving minute")
 
I f he is able to overcome all the above obstacles,the poet is sure, he will be the master of this Earth,and achieve everything in life .Moreover, he will , then, be able to earn the proud privilege of being called "MAN".

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aushadi | College Teacher | Salutatorian

Posted February 26, 2009 at 12:51 PM (Answer #3)

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Rudyard Kipling's If is one of the famous poems under his selection and I, believe it is a Universal truth that he speaks about.

From the first stanza to last, the poem holds a couraging tone. If a person reads from the beginning to the end he/ she may be awaken with such possitive thoughts. "if you can keep you head"..."if you can trust yourself"...."if you can wait"....all these lines emphasizes that the poet wants to convey the courage, honesty, self esteem, self-confidence that a person should have.

At the same time he admitts that you also should not be overconfident about yourself, which is a great truth that most of them do not realize in this world.

This poem is very much effective for the students regardless of age, where you will be encouraged to strike out at your aim.

Second stanza deals with the goals and aims you should have in your life. Great people like Abraham Lincon has failed so many times in his life in becoming a president...but he never led his life down. This poem ideally suits him. Moreover, there are many other great people as such who, never led thier sleves down by anything.

"and never breathe...loss", depicts, you should never talk about your losses, since it gives very negative attitude. He further says, that you should upfront the Will you have within you, which will make you a winner one day.

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emilymisquita | Salutatorian

Posted July 15, 2011 at 7:49 PM (Answer #4)

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The poem aims at delivering a moral instruction to the little minds and also functions as a source of motivation.
The first lesson the poet communicates is to be positive in face of differences of opinion and disapproval. The easiest resort for a person is to blame his failures on others; this is the basic tendency of men to pacify the supreme ego they possess. One should learn to take responsibility for his actions. Self-confidence and Self-respect are the best assets one can own.

One must rely on the self, while others regard his capabilities with suspicion. If one patiently and persistently waits for the fruits of one’s perseverance, nothing can stop him.

One must dream, for hope makes living worth.One must think deeply, but try not to limit his endeavor to thinking alone, because being practical is also equally imperative. For, too much thinking leads one to vacillation. One must treat triumphs and disasters with the same attitude and approach. They are two sides of the same coin-Life. 

Further,if you witness the devastation of things you once built., and rebuild the same with a rekindled fire, nothing can stop you.

One may forsake all hitherto hard-earned riches for a worthy risk, and may lose the same. If the person, works on rebuilding he same without a word complaint, it reflects on his profound dignity in the face of defeat. The continuation of a legacy when others have left, or left you in a lurch; and holding onto the same owing to your iron will power and unrelenting determination is the hallmark of superhuman individual

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sam-cool | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted July 18, 2012 at 7:18 AM (Answer #6)

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thanks

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nokialumia | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted November 6, 2012 at 12:30 PM (Answer #7)

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I really dont understand...

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ksraa | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:49 AM (Answer #14)

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OMG!!! you were right!!! this helps get 15 points!!

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aadilthahir | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted November 22, 2011 at 10:54 PM (Answer #8)

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IF" by Rudyard Kipling is a didactic poem,a work meant to give instructions.It serves as an instruction not through listing specific characters but by providing concrete illustrations of complex actions a man should or should not take which would reflect these characteristics.This poem remains widely anthologized and is regarded as a popular classic of English Literrature,not necessarily for a display of artistry but for its familiarity and inspiration .It offers a catalogue of thoughtful advice to a young male consisting of the many qualities that the writer feels are essential to become a MAN!.

Sources:

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nokialumia | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted November 6, 2012 at 12:30 PM (Answer #9)

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I dont understand...

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nokialumia | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted November 6, 2012 at 12:32 PM (Answer #10)

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I am doing this to get 15 points...

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reham-alaws | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted June 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM (Answer #11)

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what will happen if we take our dreams our master???

 

why : don't look too good , nor talk too wise ???


explain : No Freedom in not free


thank you ...

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sam-cool | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted July 18, 2012 at 7:18 AM (Answer #12)

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thanks to all of u

 

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ahujashivam28 | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:39 PM (Answer #13)

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if

 

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