Explain two of your favourite points from "If" and say how the message applies to you.

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Rudyard Kipling's poem, "If," is so inspiring in a number of ways. I appreciate the entire first stanza:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

It acknowledges the trials and tribulations that one must endure during their daily lives, and encourages one to rise above the lesser actions of others. It suggests the idea that one must not resort to simply being a follower, but to take independent steps toward bettering oneself.

The last stanza is also inspiring:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

It teaches a person to not think too highly of oneself and to treat all men fairly. It also suggests to live each second of one's life to the fullest and with gusto. We also find in the last line that the narrator is teaching these lessons to his son (or at least in a fatherly way toward all men and women).

lynnebh's profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

The poem "If,"by Rudyard Kipling, is about acting in a mature way, not with pettiness and vindictiveness. So, you just have to choose which lines apply to you, and write why that is. Since you are a young person, perhaps you might choose:

 

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

 

Have you ever been among friends who might be pressuring you to do something you know is wrong, and yet you resist? Do they criticize you for being lame or a wimp? If so, then these first two lines apply to you

 

Perhaps these lines apply to you:

 

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,

 

Has anyone ever said something untrue or mean about you, and yet you refuse to stoop to their level by saying something mean back or telling a lie about them? If so, then these lines might apply to you.

 

Perhaps you like these lines:

 

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;

 

If you have dreams but can turn your dreams into plans that you achieve instead of leaving them as dreams only, if you have good thoughts and act upon those thoughts - put those thoughts to work to help others and not just let them stagnate as mere thoughts, then these lines might apply to you.

 

Or:

 

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

 

If you can accept success as well as disaster and not let either of these two things defeat you, perhaps these lines apply to you. Note that the author calls them "imposters" - sometimes disaster works out for the good, and sometimes what seems like triumph is truly a disaster - but can you survive them both?

 

Hopefully these ideas will get you started. The premise of the poem is that a “true man” acts in this way – with dignity.

 

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

 

Good luck!

 

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