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What is the poetic devices for the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling?Please attach it with...

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sammyyoung | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 22, 2009 at 3:39 PM via web

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What is the poetic devices for the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling?

Please attach it with an example, thank you.

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 22, 2009 at 8:46 PM (Answer #1)

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The three most common poetic devices that are presented in this poem are repetition, personification, and alliteration.  Repetition is the repeated use of a word or phrase for a certain effect.  In this poem, Kipling uses repetition with the word “you” throughout the entire poem to emphasize how important “you” is.


Personification is when a non human thing is given human qualities; there are three examples of personification here.  The first is in Stanza 2, when he states,

     “…make dreams your master…”  (line 9)

The second example of personification also occurs in Stanza 2 when Kipling says,

     “If you can meet with triumph and disaster
     And treat those two imposters just the same.”  (lines 11 – 12)

The final example of personification is in Stanza 3, when Kipling states,

       “If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
        To serve your turn long after they are gone”  (lines 21 – 22)


Finally, alliteration is the repetition of the consonant sound at the beginning of consecutive words.  There are at least two examples of this.  The first occurs in stanza 2:       

     “with wornout tools”  (line 16)

And the second example is from stanza 4 and says:

     “sixty seconds”  (line 30)

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