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Rudyard Kipling

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Added by: RJ Palada
Patience, Humility, Fairness, Faith, Perseverence.... Improbable to obtain?.... Perhaps. Impossible? Never!
Added by: Richie
I find it interesting that readers of this poem would question the possibility of the accomplishment. In my humble opinion, Kipling outlines the goals and aspirations of every man, as well as, the barometer by which he will be measured.

I feel that this is not just a poem designed to encourage introspection but also to delineate the standards by which society will judge a man. In my opinion, Kipling is commenting on the high standards by which men are measured but also the internal conflict that each man experiences during the maturation process.

Just my humble opinion.
Added by: Gareth
I have often found it strange the strong feelings that his poem raises. To me, Kipling's ambitions are that of a balanced individual: someone with self-belief, but who understands the doubts of others; someone who spurns bitterness when they see their achievements scorned or destroyed; someone who does not descend to mob rule nor becomes a snob. These strike me as very noble aims and although there is a sense of Britishness about the poem, the theme of developing the self, of rising above the mob, is quite contrary to that of Imperialism often associated with this poem.
Added by: somak
I have taken some points that some of you have written and given my own thoughts on them.

After its first appearance in print in “Rewards and Fairies ( 1910 )” , ‘If’ rapidly became one of Kipling’s most popular and best known pieces of writing and in some instances, seems to have acquired almost the status of a talisman.
The primary source of the poem is about developing the self and rising above the mob. Yet there is more to the poem than appears at first reading. The poem is linked by critics by what is known as Kiplings boy scout mentality which suggests that the spiritual and mental journey to manhood is a long and complicated one.
The very reason that Kipling is giving us all a goal, something to aim for each day makes the poem so likeable. It is inspiring and injects a spirit of fighting with the daily problems we face in life .‘If’ was written just before the outbreak of the first world war and contains some of Kipling’s strongest moral and philosophical statements. Even though it brings out Kiplings expertise in writing plain , conscise and passionate poetry it has some deep meanings hidden within it. The first verse is direct, simple and written in plain and even undistinguished language which offers many moral propositions just like the rest of the poem. In first four lines Kipling writes that if we can remain calm and patient when
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dealing with a crisis we will achieve success. He indirectly suggests that only a real man can stay calm and composed in the face of crisis. He suggests that a real man shows honesty and humility in the face of crisis, when everybody is doubting him.
The first verse can also be viewed in a different context. It seems to be linked to the decisions, misunderstandings and public pressures that confront statesmen with some reference to the loneliness of those who have to make decisions.
The last lines of the first verse talk about humility, which is difficult to maintain. Kipling seems to preach the British social code for young boys of his time. Kipling had come to be regarded as the People's Laureate and the poet of the British Empire.
Therefore in the second verse he seems to to be descibing the "British stiff upper lip" (taking the knocks and not showing that it has affected you), and the second part of that verse is that part that speaks to me the strongest, when he says that we should be strong enough to hear the truth we have ourselves spoken. The qualities mentioned in the poem- among them, patience (with other people), humility, honesty and level-headedness- are things most people would agree to be good character traits. In the first four lines Kipling talks about treating victory and defeat with the same spirits and about being strong enough to see our own creations being destroyed. He talks about the ugly society which envies successful men and tries to malign them with lies. He writes about the evil people who try to pull down successful men from their coveted hieghts.In the last lines He writes that when defeated we should start afresh and try to reach the top again. The idea

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that men are supposed to suppress their emotions and fight until they are successful arises here. Kipling is commenting on the high standards by which men are measured but also the internal conflict that each man experiences during the maturation process.
The third verse is the longest and also the strongest of all the three verses. It seems to be a hyperbole of the high expectations put upon the male by society. The first four lines in the third verse talks about courage and the fighting spirit of the man. Kipling says one should be ignore cosequenses and work. He writes that man should not worry about the results and do what is morally correct. He writes that we should be able to let go everything we have and yet have the ability to regain everything again. He says that real manhood is not impulsiveness but success through patience and hard work.
Here there is a sense of ideas from religions like Hinduism and Buddhism evolving into the poem. Kipling was born in India and spent most of his life in Asia and as a result was greatly influenced by some of asian concepts. Kipling writes that humility is a great quality and that we all must possess it and then he says that we should not vulnerable to foes or friends. This seems a vague concept yet for Kipling it seemed perfectly allright. Kipling was sometimes describes as a morally insensitive poet .
In the lines that follow , the moral statements ask for the qualities of calmness, patience, the avoidance of smugness, a balance between speculation and action, success and defeat. He also writes about the power to make victory out of defeat and indirectly asserts that these are the qualities that a true man should possess. It also appears to advocate a gambling mentality in the first two line of the third verse. Another distinct fact

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that can be observed in the third verse is that the last four lines are out of league with the rest of the verse.
One of the necessities in understanding this poem is knowing its original place in Kipling's work (Kipling in his biography noted with some rancour that this poem had been "anthologized to weariness".) "If" is one of the bracketing poems to "Brother Squaretoes", a short story in the book "Rewards and Fairies". The short story is about George Washington and his courage in resisting the temptation to succumb to the will of the mob and his advisers and fight another war with England.
Kipling loathed mob rule and politics and admired virtuous men of action. Therefore this possibility cannot be ruled out.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was one of the most celebrated writers in the English language. Kipling is the author of over five hundred poems and numerous works of other genres that are tremendously popular both in Europr and the United States, In 1907 he became the first English writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. He lost his daughter in 1899 and this is the time he wrote the poem “If”, one of his most celebrated poems.
The primary reason “If “ became is so popular is because of its simpilcity, and a rapid superficial appeal. It can also be memorised very easily which explains its popularity amongst children.
It also became popular because it outlines the goals and aspirations of every man, as well as, the barometer by which he will be measured.
Added by: Kamentha Govender
i think Rudyard Kipling's poem "if" is beautiful. With exeptional meaning and beauty. It is describing and almost perfect person.
Added by: Lysette
Some of you people do not understand the meaning of this poem and therefore are making up preposterous comments about something you know nothing about! This is just some of you. The others of you are trying to grasp the concept of this poem. This poem is about how a son is growing into a man and what he can do to get there. If he can go through all the obstacles that life throws at him he will make it.
Added by: Irene
I studied and learnt this poem many years ago when I was at school, and I have always been able to relate to it and give myself strength by remembering the words - each suitable to different situations. I don't think he was referring to man as as male being, but to people both men and women. I also believe that very few of us can reach the goals he names, but like amny poets and poems this aspires to ideals not to reality.
Why won't I shut up--is this #45?
Added by: Lisa G.
"If" seems like a father's reply to his son's question: "How do you know when you are a Man?" The terms of the poem are not vague or uncertain. The word "if" means "on condition that"; therefore, these are the requirements a person must meet before he can fit the poetic voice's, and most likely Kipling's, definition of a Man.

Notice that Man is capitalized. This is not your run-of-the-mill man. It is more than a male come of age. It is a special kind of man, one who exhibits the virtues Kipling seems to value most.

I think the poem runs counter to cultural thinking on what it means to be a man. The Man in this poem isn't necessarily tall. He isn't necessarily wealthy. He isn't necessarily handsome. He isn't necessarily married to a beauty queen. He doesn't necessarily play for the NFL, and he didn't even necessarily win the Nobel Prize.=) He has made mistakes in his life. Society might not even make him out to be a Man.

What the Man does possess is an unusual strength of character, something anyone could have but that very few people do. He is strong on the inside rather than on the outside. He is so strong that he doesn't even care if anyone acknowledges him. He isn't being a Man to impress others but for nobler reasons.

The Man has developed in the ways that Kipling deemed most important. It's probably true that all poets are idealists, but if Kipling didn't think it were possible to be such a Man I don't see why he would have written this poem.

I have heard Kipling being regarded as a mediocre poet, and whether that's true or not I along with many other people find this poem inspiring and instructive. It is a compelling guideline on life, for women as well as for men.

Also, this site may be called plagiarist.com, but that doesn't mean people should use it to become plagiarists. Plagiarism is dishonest and should get you in a lot of trouble. A Man wouldn't do it. You have a mind of your own, people.
Added by: Bhavna
i think this poem is a very nice peom . its a very touching poem.Its a set of values u should have from childood to
an adult. the poet is telling us that how he wants his son to have all these qualities .
Cool poem
Added by: Ivan Mujungu
As a young student i really appreciate Mr Rudyard's work. This is the best poem ever written by him and will ever be. this poem reminds people(men) that is never granted and should enjoy every second you have.
Thanks for reading my comments.

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