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Critical Analysis of the Poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling

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The poem “If” made up by four stanzas which have eight lines for each stanza. Also this poem are divided into four parts follow by four stanzas : Attitude toward life, attitude toward dreams , difficulties in life and individual’s personality. Therefore , it mainly contains the author's thoughts and hopes for his son, which can be inferred from the last sentence: 'You will become a man, my son! ' However, we can also infer that this is the author's wish for all young people. In short, the theme of the poem is to tell young people who we should be, what we should do, and what attitude we should take in today's society. Moreover, Rudyard Kipling used many figurative language tools in his writing and I’m going to discuss about this.

“IF” was written by Rudyard Kipling, who was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was considered a major innovator in the art of short fiction, and in 1907, at the age of 41, he was awarded the English Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first British writer to win the prize and the youngest winner to date. Many of his poems are well-known, that made he became a popular prose writer from the 19th century to the 20th century in England. ( from wikipedia).

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First of all, Rudyard Kipling use the subjunctive all over this poem. He used several “If” to express proper life attitude in his mind. That makes readers have empathy when reading this poem and make it easier to understand. Like “if” in every beginning of the sentences , we never know what we might be in, because every situation is possible. The point is, we have to be ready. As “if” says, we should remain calm and tough in a world that is not ready to help. The responsibilities and qualities necessary to be a useful person in our world, especially for our graduating students who just leave school and become grown man.

Secondly , the author Rudyard Kipling use Personification to tries to tell us what attitude we should take in different aspects of life. In his writing, Inanimate objects are given life like depiction( school outline). we can find in the third stanza, “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, Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on''As a rule, heart and nerve and sinew are inanimate, but here the author personifies them, gives them life, makes them to be independent individuals who can serve us, and we can even talk to them. That makes his writing more colourful and more visible. Most importantly, as human beings, we live not only in our world, but in a world that we share with others. Talking with our own bodies means we need to learn to be ourselves, adhere to our thoughts and will, even in the face of setbacks, can not give up.

The depth and power of the poem make it a lifelong friend and role model for us to lead a better life and success.

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Critical Analysis of the Poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from
“Critical Analysis of the Poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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