Discussion Topic

Qualities and virtues that define a perfect man according to Rudyard Kipling's "If—"

Summary:

According to Rudyard Kipling's "If—", a perfect man embodies qualities such as patience, resilience, humility, self-confidence, and integrity. He remains calm under pressure, stays true to his values, treats success and failure equally, and maintains a balanced demeanor. The poem emphasizes the importance of perseverance, wisdom, and emotional strength in defining an ideal man.

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What qualities should a perfect man possess according to the third stanza of "If—" by Rudyard Kipling?

Rudyard Kipling's poem "If—" is written from the point of view of a parent, presumably a father. In the poem, the narrator/parent advises his son on the qualities one must possess to be considered a man. The word "if" often precedes a conditional clause. As suggested by the title, the poem is a long list of conditions that must be met in order for the son to be a man.

The third stanza focuses on perseverance, resilience, and recovery from loss. In the third stanza, the narrator/parent tells the son that in order to be a man, he must have the strength to start anew, even after losing everything. He must recover from his losses and do so with pride and without ever mentioning his losses to anyone.

The narrator/parent also tells the son that to attain manhood, he must be resilient and continue moving forward, even if he does not feel that he has the strength to do so. The son must will his mind and body to persevere, even if he feels too weak to do so:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone
And so hold on when there is nothing in you

The third stanza emphasizes the strength of character one must have to be considered a man. According to the narrator/parent, a man must be able to continue moving forward in spite of whatever obstacles and/or losses stand in his way.

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In Kipling's "If," what qualities should one possess to become a perfect man?

Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem “If” to give his son direction on how to become a respectable man.

He advises his son to stay calm in the face of adversity, to be truthful, self-righteous, and proud. When others are attempting to spread untruths and hate, he suggests remaining true to one’s ideals, while not sinking to the lowly actions of others.

In addition, Kipling suggests the need for hard work while maintaining a “dream.” The dream should not impede progress and if all is lost, it is important to continue to move forward. If all is lost, he suggests that the respectable man will find a way to recover and prosper once again without burdening others with his problems.

Finally, he feels it is important be able to interact with all of humanity while demonstrating self-dignity. One should not put on airs when dealing with those of a higher class, nor should a man look down upon others. A true man will fit in with all of humanity, but not be solely identified with one group.

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! 

The qualities needed to be a “perfect” man include: self- worth, compassion for mankind, a strong work ethic, the ability to interact with those from all walks of life while not stooping to the pettiness of others, and to care about others while maintaining self-dignity.

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In the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, what does the poet mean by a perfect man?

A perfect man, according to Kipling, is one who has character. Good character makes you a man. Kipling refers to being a man as having confidence, because he knew he was the best person he could be. It's being able to trust yourself and doing the right thing even while faced with difficult circumstances.

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In the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, what does the poet mean by a perfect man?

Kipling's speaker in this poem lists many of the qualities valued among British men during the Victorian period. Some of these qualities include keeping one's cool even when everyone else is losing his own, trusting one's self even when no one else does, and risking all one's winnings in a single desperate bet. Clearly, self confidence was a part of being "a perfect man" in this society. Additionally, the speaker mentions that, having lost his single desperate bet, the "perfect man" would "never breathe a word about [his] loss" and start over again. He would also treat "triumph and disaster...just the same." Therefore, it is also clear that "a perfect man" is a stoic he accepts wins and losses without emotional display.

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Is it possible to achieve all virtues mentioned in Kipling's "If", and what makes a perfect man?

I would agree would Kipling in that a sign of maturity comes with trials and tests. I would agree that it takes a mature person to keep your head when those all around "you are losing theirs and blaming it on you." Maturity allows you to "trust yourself when all men doubt you."

Truly, patience is a sign of maturity. It takes a mature person to wait patiently. It takes a mature person to avoid hating when others hate you. Maturity comes with testing.

Dreaming and working hard to make your dream come true is a sign of maturity. Treating triumph and disaster as the same imposters is a sign of wisdom:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; 
If you can meet with triumph and disaster 
And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can do the right thing in the face of trouble, you will show yourself mature. Winning isn't everything and losing it all only to begin again takes great effort and maturity:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
And never breath a word about your loss;

Kipling knew something about what it takes to become a mature person. He knew that trials and tribulations were necessary in order to become a mature man or woman.

Humility is a virtue that proves maturity. Relating to the common man while walking with kings is a mature action. Also, guarding your heart so no one can hurt you is a sign of maturity.

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;

Through Kipling's instructions, you can prove yourself a man or a woman. If you can keep your head and show yourself patient, you can prove yourself a man or woman. If you can follow instructions and prove you have self control, you can inherit the earth:

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

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