It’s like a self-help book in verse, offering practical common-sense advice.
This iconic poem is expressed plainly enough so that close textual analysis is by no means necessary to understand it – but the syntactical and rhetorical rhythms and patterns Kipling sets up are worthy of commentary.
However, anyone and everyone can gather the fruitful bounties quoted in this poem to glimpse at the magnificent insight into what an ideal personality should be like.
renders into many of humankind’s greatest virtues —staying tranquil under stress, remaining humble when triumphant, never giving up hope when defeated, and maintaining honor and genuineness at all times.
Another literary device used by Kipling to make an impact on the reader is repetition.
Kipling used the phrase “if you” throughout the poem.Kipling weaves detailed illustrations to offer his advice and emphasize the intricate actions a man should or should not take, rather than just listing the characteristics of an ideal, honorable man.His motivational words full of humility tap right into the core of its readers; forcing them to ponder along issues much higher than the pettiness that encompasses daily life.But the poem appeals even to those not in the business of literary criticism or analysis.is undoubtedly one of the most beloved poems written by Rudyard Kipling.The poem’s final words, ‘you’ll be a man, my son’, suggest that the poem is addressed to Kipling’s actual son, and ‘If—’ should first and foremost be interpreted as a poem addressed to a younger man, listing the necessary characteristics a man should acquire or cultivate in order to be a paragon of manly virtue. Stoicism looms large in Kipling’s poem – that is, the acknowledgment that, whilst you cannot always prevent bad things from happening to you, you deal with them in a good way.This is summed up well in the referencing to meeting with triumph and disaster and ‘treat[ing] those two impostors just the same’ – in other words, be magnanimous in victory and success (don’t gloat or crow about it) and be dignified and noble in defeat or times of trouble (don’t moan or throw your toys out of the pram).’ If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!According to Kipling in his autobiography, (1937), the origins of ‘If—’ lie in the failed Jameson raid of 1895-6, when the British colonial statesman Leander Starr Jameson led a raid against the South African (Boer) Republic over the New Year weekend.The poem is straightforward and written in simple language.It consists of four eight-line stanzas that reads like a continuous thought.