Do you believe the poem If by Rudyard Kipling reflects a bitter vision of the world?

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boomer-sooner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem If by Rudyard Kipling provides a cynical view of the world as it gives advice on how to overcome the treacherous world.  Although the poem views the world in a bitter light, Kipling offers hope.  By understanding the dangers that lay ahead in the world it is easier to prepare to overcome the obstacles.

Kipling's cynicism is seen throughout each stanza.  In the opening lines he states people will lose their heads and blame it on you.  He is implying people will make mistakes or poor choices and blame their misfortunes on you.  He goes on to claim people will lie, hate, twist your words and try to hurt you.  Further, Kipling refers to the finite nature of time as the "unforgiving minute" which demonstrates his adversarial approach to the world.

Despite the bitter characteristics Kipling gives the world, the poem is also about hope.  The hope to conquer the world by understanding it is not always a nice place.  He provides a pep talk when he challenges you to hold on when you think you having nothing left "Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'".  In closing Kipling notes that anyone who heeds his advice will conquer the world.

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