What is a summary of the poem "If--" by Rudyard Kipling?
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What is a summary of the poem "If--" by Rudyard Kipling?

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Quick Answer

Rudyard Kipling's poem "If--" is a poem that advocates confidence, honesty and fortitude, laying out for the reader the things he must do if he is to maintain his self-control and become a man. The poem lays out a list of situations in which the reader is challenged in many personal areas, meeting with "Triumph and Disaster" and overcoming both. Each situation is paired with Kipling's concept of the right response to the challenge.

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The piece, written by Kipling in 1909, was by far his most widely known and best-loved poem. He originally wrote it as advice to his son, and many people consider it good advice today. In the first of four stanzas, Kipling urges calm in the face of panic, self-confidence, patience and a refusal to be baited by others. In the second stanza, Kipling urges his son not to lose his dreams and speaks of the right way to respond when faced with major disappointments. In the next stanza, Kipling urges his son to take big risks and not to be upset if those risks turn into losses. He also encourages extreme endurance in the face of difficulties. In the last stanza, Kipling urges his son to treat all men the same but not to get too close to anyone, finally explaining that all these virtues are what are needed to make his son into a man.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a critical analysis of Rudyard Kipling's poem "If"?

    A:

    Overall, the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling presents a set of ideals that make up the behavior of the ideal man. Taken together, these characteristics express an attitude of stoicism and a reserved character. It is interesting that Kipling does not include heroism, wealth or fame among the virtues that he recommends, states Humanities360.com.

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  • Q:

    What are some notable lines in the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling?

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    "If" features many well-quoted lines, but one of the most well-known is "If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same." Rudyard Kipling wrote his most beloved poem "If" in 1909.

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    What is the basic summary of "The Mark of the Beast" by Rudyard Kipling?

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    Rudyard Kipling's short story "The Mark of the Beast" is about the cultural misunderstandings between British colonists and their Indian subjects. The short story is considered an allegory, with symbolism used to represent the strife between these two conflicting parties.

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  • Q:

    What is Rudyard Kipling famous for?

    A:

    English poet, short story writer and novelist Rudyard Kipling is best remembered for his children's stories, such as "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and "The Jungle Book" as well as the poem "If." He was supportive of British imperialism and wrote several pieces as a journalist about British soldiers in India. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.

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