If By Rudyard Kipling Theme

What is the theme of the poem "If"?

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lsumner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The poem "If" is a didactic poem. It teaches a lesson about life. The speaker in the poem is instructing his son on what to do and not do to obtain or inherit the earth while he becomes a man. 

The speaker uses seemingly contradictions of ideas, yet the paradox of ideas works:

Kipling creates a paradox (the combination of mutually exclusive ideas that, while seemingly contradictory, serve to make a point in their contradiction) that is characteristic of the tone of the entire poem.

If the son can have self control along with his self confidence, he will be the wiser and inherit the earth. If the son can have patients and "If you can wait and not be tired by waiting," then you will...

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sreveron | Student

Basically being true to yourself, being a strong person, stay in reality, not getting caught up in the nay-sayers, staying positive when others try to hold you down, not forgetting where you came from.  Doing all of these will make you who you are and a a real MAN/WOMAN.  Awesome poem that says so much! :)

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