Analysis and Summary of If by Rudyard Kipling

Topics: Imperialism, British Empire, Poetry Pages: 2 (753 words) Published: December 2, 2012
English ISU

Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865 and through the years of living in Bombay, he learned about the British Empire. Kipling gave much too English literature and wrote poetry, short stories, and novels1. When Kipling was five, his parents sent him to boarding school in England so he could learn more about his British background. While living in England, Kipling was inspired by the imperialistic views of the British demonstrated around the world. During his school years, Kipling had a very difficult at boarding school. He was physically abused throughout his time in college. After finishing college in 1882, he returned back to India to work as a journalist and editor. Also in 1882, Kipling married an American woman Caroline Balestier and immediately moved to America to live with her. He stayed in Vermont until 1899, and went back alone to England to write literature. The majority of his poems dealt with his opinion of inspiration and imperialism. An analysis of “If” and “The White Man’s Burden” makes it clear that Rudyard Kipling uses literary devices effectively to fortify his message of inspiration and imperialism. “If” is one of Kipling’s best known poems and it contains one of his most powerful messages of inspiration. In the beginning of the second stanza in “If”, Kipling uses personification “If you can dream- and not make dreams your master.” The beginning of the stanza focuses on reality; dreaming is good, but do not let it take control of yourself. Meaning, there are other important goals in life that are needed to be achieved. The second personification used by Kipling is on line 10 and 11 “If you can meet with triumph and disaster/ and treat those two imposters the same.” This explains that failure is a benefit; mistakes are guaranteed to happen. No one is perfect and people learn from their missteps.

The final personification on line 21 and 22 Kipling uses is “If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew/ To serve your turn...
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