What litrary device has been used in stanza 2 of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling? Point out its significance.I want to ask literary device in the following lines of stanza 2; "If you can...

What litrary device has been used in stanza 2 of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling? Point out its significance.

I want to ask literary device in the following lines of stanza 2;

"If you can dream..................................imposters just the same."

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main literary device that I see in those lines is personification, which is where you give an inanimate object or idea human-like qualities.  Kipling personifies dreams as "your master," which gives dreams the human-like trait of being able to be someone's master.  That is significant because it is saying that dreams are so powerful and driving that they can control everything that  you do; you often become slave to them, dedicating all of your lives to their benefit.  So comparing dreams to a master is a good personification (it also works as a metaphor).  The next instance of personification is when Kipling calls "Triumph and Disaster", which are two opposite things, "imposters."  This is a very thought-provoking personification and metaphor.  Triumph is an imposter, as is Disaster; they both come into your life and disrupt it-either for the good or bad.  And, Kipling is saying that we should treat both of them just the same; we should not gloat over our triumphs nor whine over our disasters, but treat them both as imposters to rational and good behavior.

When Kipling uses personification to make dreams, disasters and triumphs seem like actual people that enter a life and change it for the good or bad, it makes them seem more real, and more difficult to handle properly.  He makes them concrete and tangible, and uses that to give some great advice to his son.  I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Kipling uses the literary device of personification in these lines, but he also uses several other literary devices that work together to create a mood. One is anaphora, in which lines begin with the same word or words. In this instance, Kipling repeats the words "if you can" three times in a row, simply adding a different verb each time. The repeated words create a sense of rhythm, continuity, and emphasis. Since they pose a question for which they assume the answer is yes, they also function as rhetorical questions or devices. All of these devices work together to create a tone of optimism that encourages the reader to believe that he or she can, in fact, surmount every obstacle.

Another literary device Kipling uses is end rhymes in an ABAB scheme. This also creates a comforting sense of rhythm in this passage: "master" rhymes with "disaster," and "aim" rhymes with "same."

All of these devices work together to create a comforting feeling that the world can be known and mastered.

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