In the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, can you identify five adjectives and verbs used? What tone and mood do they develop?

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Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Five verbs used in Rudyard Kipling's If are: keep, trust, wait, bear, stoop. Five adjectives used are: good, wise, common, twisted, broken. These words develop a paternal, teaching tone, as of a father instructing his son in the ways of life and morality.

The words "keep" and "trust," for example, suggest direct, universal guidelines. These imperative verbs read almost like commandments, or precepts on living the good life. The words "wait," "bear," and "stoop" suggest the speaker's age and weariness: he's survived many problems and setbacks in life by doing just those things. 

The adjectives: good, wise, common, twisted, and broken, suggest the wide variety of life's experiences and difficulties. The first three, for example ("good," "wise," and "common") describe we ought to aspire toward in life. The latter two adjectives: "twisted" and "broken," speak to the difficulties brought upon each of us by chance and circumstance. In total, these words develop a mood of totality. That is, they describe a person's total life: proper aspirations; difficulties and challenges; the forces of chance, fate, and luck; and, most importantly, how to persevere through it all with integrity. 

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