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In the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, why are Triumph and Disasters called Imposters?

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pigwidgeon | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 29, 2011 at 10:49 PM via web

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In the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, why are Triumph and Disasters called Imposters?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:27 AM (Answer #1)

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If you can meet with triumph and disaster 
And treat those two imposters just the same;

Truly, triumph and disaster are imposters. To triumph in a wrong doing is not a time to shout the victory. Hitler was triumphant is his murdering of the innocent Jews. He gloated in his triumph for a while. He was quite triumphant and successful in killing millions of Jews. Ultimately, his triumph was an imposter. It was only a matter of time before he was surrounded and defeated by his enemy. Then his triumph was an imposter. His triumph was not real. He lost the battle eventually and ended his life in suicide.

Likewise, disaster, when it comes with all of its fury, may look to be real, but it too can be an imposter. In the face of loss, there can be hidden blessings. For example, one may lose his or her abilities, only to find other abilities become stronger. Joni Eareckson broke her neck in a swimming accident. She lost her ability to walk. She became paralyzed from her neck down. What looked like a disaster was actually turned around for her good (Romans 8:28). Her disaster was turned into a blessing when she learned to paint using her teeth. She would never had learned this had she not faced the disaster of losing her sense of feeling. Her disaster became an imposter because now we have her beautiful masterpieces that would never have been painted had she not lost her sense of feeling or touch. This is how disaster can be an imposter. When a blessing comes out of disaster, disaster becomes an imposter, especially when it is turned around for one's good (Romans 8:28).

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