Can I please get a line-by-line explanation of the poem "If—" by Rudyard Kipling?

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Rebecca Hope eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Here is a paraphrase of each line, numbered in order:

1. If you can stay calm when other people

2. are losing their composure;

3. if you can remain self-confident even when others lose their faith in you,

4. but at the same time don't get conceited;

5. if you can be patient

6. and don't retaliate by spreading lies when people have slandered you,

7. and don't hate those who despise you

8. without being a snob;

9. if you can plan ahead without getting distracted by impractical imaginings;

10. if you can be analytical but not overly intellectual;

11. if neither victory nor defeat

12. throws you off track;

13. if you can handle it when people take your ideas

14. and misconstrue them just to cause someone to make a mistake;

15. if you can see your plans spoiled

16. and go back to the drawing board and do it all over again;

17. if you make a foolish mistake by risking all your money

18. on something destined to fail

19. and when you lose your money

20. don't complain about it;

21. if you're willing to push yourself physically

22. beyond what seems to be your limit

23. so that you persevere even when

24. you have no physical strength left, just emotional strength;

25. if a lot of people want to listen to you,

26. and if you have influence among important power brokers;

27. if you're impervious to the wounds of friend and foe alike;

28. if you have people who believe in you without being sycophants;

29–30. if you make the most of every minute given to you—

31. you will have limitless opportunity

32. and, more importantly, you will have discovered what it means to truly be a man.

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schulzie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is easier to give stanza by stanza,but you can separate the sentences and match them to the lines of the poem. The poem is a father defining for his son the qualities of a good man.. He is setting the parameters or boundaries for his son and giving him a goal to achieve.  The poem deals with life’s  challenges and how to deal with them.

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 691 words.)

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