Marie Hermansen, 3.w
‘If’ and ‘We and They’ by Rudyard Kipling
If I had to think of one major theme in the poem If, which is written by the English writer Rudyard Kipling, I would have to say that ‘dignity’ plays a big part, seeing as every one of the things he mentions will lead you to dignity in some way or another. And yet every line, as the title suggests, begins with "If you-", allowing for the potential mistakes of the flawed human race. Whereupon, Kipling suddenly startles you with his literary flair: "If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you". As the reader comes to the end of each couplet, he secretly wishes to be exactly as Rudyard Kipling describes. This surely is proof enough that it is a relevant description of what makes a dignified human being.
The reader almost gets the feeling in this poem that they are being spoken to by their father, especially from the last two lines: "Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,/And which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!" This humbling climax merely adds to the sense of dignified ease in the poem, and leaves the reader in awe of the possibilities of the human spirit.
'If' is a representation of various things: Rudyard Kipling's own humble notion of dignity, the beauty of acts of kindness and nobility, and the remarkable potential of the human race.
As mentioned earlier, the theme in this short little poem If could very well be ‘dignity’, and the message of said poem might be that you should always thrive to fulfill those guidelines, you will reach the highest sense of dignity. However if you slip up once, dignity is not a lost cause for you, but rather you should keep on trying, no matter how many times you fail.
In England this poem is practically the essence of British virtue, just like you can see in the novel Heat and Dust, written in 1975 by Rudy Prawer Jhabvala, in which the Englishmen and Englishwomen all follows...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document