What is one example of onomatopoeia in the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling?

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Among the various literary devices utilized by Rudyard Kipling in his classic poem "If," he does not use an onomatopeia at any time throughout the poem. An onomatopoeia is a literary device in which a word imitates and mimics the natural sound of a thing. Some good examples of onomatopoeias are flies that "buzz," cows that "moo," and pigs that "oink." Instead of utilizing onomatopeias in the poem "If," Rudyard Kipling chose to utilize personification, repetition, paradoxes, and alliteration. Personification is when a non-human thing, animal, or inanimate object is given human attributes. An example personification in the poem is when Kipling writes,

"If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same."

Kipling is personifying triumph and disaster by referring to the two inanimate nouns as "imposters." Kipling also utilizes numerous paradoxes, which are statements that seem contradictory but contain a hidden truth.

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I’m going to be honest with you here: I’m not sure there is an example of onomatopoeia in this poem. An onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like the thing it represents, like “achoo” for a sneeze or “buzz” for the sound a bee makes. The phonemes in the words themselves resemble the sounds they signify. Because we are dealing with sounds, any onomatopoeia in “If” would have to be representing a sound. The poem mentions talking, doubting, blaming, breathing, all kinds of sound-related things, and yet none of them really represent any sound they are describing. If your assignment is to find one example for a number of literary devices for this poem, you might have to leave the onomatopoeia section blank, like you do sometimes for the letter “x” when you’re going through the alphabet. 

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