9 November 2012
Poetry Analysis by Rudyard Kipling “If”
As I analyze this poem, I get a sense of life’s challenges and how someone can overcome those who refuse to take accountability for their own actions. Considering the poem using point of view, I wonder whether it is being told from the point of view of Rudyard Kipling or not. Is “If” the story of Kipling himself? Is it an ideal he aspired to or something he attained? If he did attain it, is it something he attained and knew he attained it, or something he attained and still didn’t realize it? Perhaps the answers to some of those questions are beyond the scope of this paper, but Kipling’s life can help us understand the poem more completely. Kipling was born in Bombay, India, in 1856. He always had tales that he was writing for children, including his own children (Poetry Foundation). Sadly one of his children died at the age of eighteen, fighting the Irish Guards (Bhaskart, Rao). Kipling himself suffered bullying growing up and was often punished by his parents. This poem expresses the importance of an individual taking and accepting the responsibility for their own lives—including their mistakes—and not blaming others. The poem has two important lessons. The first is that we are all equal. Don’t put yourself above anyone else, but know that you are just as good as everyone else, so don’t let anyone else put themselves above you. The second is that you should believe in yourself, even when everyone doubts you. Don’t believe in lies people say about you—or about anyone else. Tell the truth, believe the truth, and behave truthfully, not matter what those around you do. These lessons come from the point of view of a father instructing his son; naturally, we could also look at it as coming from the point of view of any older man to any younger man—an emotional or spiritual father-son relationship—but it seems the intent of the author was clear that this poem was directed to his...
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