A son, a brother, a husband, a father, a writerâ€¦ Rudyard Kipling. Rudyard Kipling was called, by some, one of England’s best short story writers and this is how it all began (Rudyard Kipling). Rudyard was born on December 30th, 1865, in Bombay (Rudyard Kipling-Biography). His parents lived in Bombay because of his father’s job. His mother and father both worked so that they could support their two children, Rudyard and Alice. Kipling’s sister was three years younger than him and was born in 1868 (Sandison, A.G.).
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Rudyard Kipling lived with foster parents, in England, for quite some time. He and his sister were not expecting to be left there, with a foster family, while his parents went back to Bombay (Orel, Harold). It was 1871, when they arrived at the south coast of England, to find a cruel foster parent, who they had to call Aunty Rosa, waiting for them there. Rudyard didn’t have a good experience there; he was treated poorly and abused, while living there for 6 years. That was a big change from the time he spent in Bombay, being the center of attention and basically having a pretty good life. This experience really impacted his writing. He had issues, throughout his life, because of his foster family. He also ended up getting insomnia and he had it the rest of his life (Sandison, A.G.).
One tradition that Kipling and his sister had was going to their aunt and uncle’s house every Christmas. It was a great relief from being at Aunty Rosa’s house. Not only was this house their aunt and uncle’s, it was an artist and writer hot spot. They would all meet there every so often. In doing this every year, Rudyard was greatly influenced by some very talented writers, which really started him on his writing journey. Three of these writers made a big impact and connected with Rudyard. Those three men were his uncle, Burne-Jones, Cormell Price, and William Morris. But, Burne-Jones, Rudyard’s uncle, was the closest to him out of everyone (Sandison, A.G.).
Rudyard went to United Services College until he was almost seventeen. Cormell Price was the headmaster of that school and since he already was close to Kipling, he gave him permission to use his library, which increased his writing skills (Sandison, A.G.).
He went back to live with his parents in Lahore when he was 16, which was the year of 1882. He wrote a lot of pieces while he was there. It is actually what really started to get him recognized. Kipling returned to England in the year of 1889 and started writing some great short stories after one of his, Barrack-Room Ballads, was praised. Kipling started moving right along in his successful writing career and was starting to become famous (Rudyard Kipling).
In 1892, Kipling married a girl named Carrie. She was the sister to one of his friends who had recently passed away. They moved back to his wife’s home in Brattleboro, Vermont. That is where his first two kids were born- Josephine and Elsie. He also wrote Captains Courageous and The Jungle Book in Brattleboro. In 1896, they moved back to England because he had a fall out with his brother-in-law. Then, a year afterwards, they moved to Rottingdean, in Sussex, where their son, John, was born. In 1899, his daughter died, while they were in the U.S. for a visit. They lost their son, John, in World War I, soon after Josephine’s death. Kipling kept on writing even through all these tragic times. He was actually awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, in 1907, and became very famous. Rudyard Kipling led a good life and, sadly, died January of 1936, on one of many of their family trips (Rudyard Kipling).That basically sums up Kipling’s life, in a nutshell.
Overview/Summary of “If”
Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem “If” in attempts to show the reader how to live life and solve problems simply. He wrote this poem to his son during World War I, offering great advice on life (Lewis, J.R.). This particular poem captured the attention of those who usually don’t care for, or flat out, don’t like poetry. This poem was said to be one of the best poems ever written (Lewis, J.R.).
This poem is broken into four sections and each of these sections are filled with great meaning. People should read this poem and learn from it great life lessons and become better people all together. Rudyard Kipling excelled with this piece of literature. He summed up how people should live life in a short but sweet poem (Sharum, Angel L).
The first section of this poem is really about not getting caught up within your own pride. Don’t try and change for other people and popularity or status. Try to do what is right and not what others think is right. Don’t become self-centered or haughty. Be yourself and stay on the right path and know that you are doing the right thing. That is how this first section of “If” can be interpreted (Sharum, Angel L).
The second section of Rudyard Kipling’s popular poem has just as much meaning as the first section. This section’s main points would have to be, pushing right on through all the hard challenges that always interfere with your goals and dreams in life. Also, this section says to create goals to aim for and try to accomplish them without letting them rule your life. So, perseverance is a big lesson in the section. When life gets tough, gut it out and keep moving forward (Sharum, Angel L).
Now, on to the third section of this poem named “If”. This section is almost like the last section. It says to not give up and don’t admit defeat when a failure occurs. It tells people to try again and keep working at it until the goal is met. That is what the third section of “If” is about. Never say never, and don’t give in to laziness, doubt, or defeat (Sharum, Angel L).
Last, but not least, is the final section of this great work of art and marvelous piece of literature. This section of the poem has a couple of great meanings hiding in it. No one is better or worse than another person. Everyone has special qualities that they possess; it is just whether people will take the effort to look hard enough to find them. Another good point in this would be to not waste the time in life. Try to enjoy every day in life and make it meaningful. If people didn’t waste their time and lives focusing on the bad things and unfair things they would be far better off. Once people realize to make every moment in life count, they will be more successful and lead happier lives. (Sharum, Angel L).
That is a basic summary of the poem that Rudyard Kipling wrote. He inspired tons of people with this poem and is still inspiring people to this very day (Lewis, J.R.)! It really gives good examples and sets great goals for people’s lives. The poem is almost like a little guide for people’s lives (Sharum, Angel L). This particular poem just might have been the most famous of all the poems he had written. It got so popular that people all over were translating it into their own languages and would make copies of it. This poem is like a instruction manual for the common, human being. That is what this poem is really all about (Sharum, Angel L).
Critical Analysis of “If”
Rudyard Kipling had many influential people and experiences in his lifetime. The first thing is that he lived in India in his early years and then moved back to India when he was a teenager. That really impacted Kipling’s type, style, and story lines of a lot of the pieces he wrote (Orel, Harold).
Another experience, that majorly impacted his whole life, was living with his cruel foster parents. He was neglected and abused and never fully recovered from that. He had insomnia for the rest of his life, along with other issues (Sandison, A.G.).
Going to his aunt and uncle’s house every Christmas influenced him because he met some very influential people and made personal relationships with them. That helped him get to where he was when he got older. He got special privileges at his school because he was close to the headmaster. Kipling excelled because he was free to use the headmaster’s personal library (Sandison, A.G.).
One more big thing that occurred in his life was that he lost two of his children within sixteen years. His daughter died tragically on a family vacation. Then, sixteen years later he lost his son in the war. Those are just some of the influential times in his life (Rudyard Kipling).
¨ Main Themes
The first theme would be growing up and becoming a man. It discusses maturing into manhood, growing up, and becoming wiser. Connected to that would be learning leadership skills. In the process of becoming a man, leadership skills are usually required to succeed and earn respect (If| Introduction).
Another theme in this poem is righteousness rather than being self-righteous. The point Kipling is trying to get across is quite simple. People striving to be righteous should not be self-centered. Those two things, righteousness and self-righteousness are total opposites. So, if people act self-righteous they aren’t going to achieve righteousness any time soon (If| Introduction).
The next theme is having a good work ethic. People should not give up when things get hard. They shouldn’t decide to be lazy and just decide not to do something because they don’t feel like it. People should always keep trying and persevering through hard times and it will pay off in the long run (If| Introduction).
The last theme of this poem is detachment. Failure and success should not be focused on because they will not last nor will they be permanent. Do not get attached to something that will leave as quickly as it came. That concludes the themes of this poem (If| Introduction).
¨ Stylistic Devices
Kipling’s poem had at least three stylistic and literary devices in it. The three devices in this poem were repetition, personification and alliteration. These are the main literary and stylistic devices that showed up in “If” (Yahoo! Answers).
Repetition was a big literary device that was used in this poem. The way it was used was with the word “you”. Almost every line has the word you in it! So, obviously, this is a very good literary device throughout this poem. That is the first device that has been used (Yahoo! Answers).
Personification is the second device found in this poem. Here are a few examples from the poem. One is, “â€¦make dreams your master…” and another is “â€¦make thoughts your aimâ€¦” Those are both examples of personification used in the poem. So, that was the second literary device that was used in Kipling’s poem (Yahoo! Answers).
The last device used in this poem was alliteration. There are only two examples of alliteration in this poem, but there still is alliteration. The first example is, “â€¦with wornout toolsâ€¦” The second example in this poem of alliteration is, “â€¦sixty secondsâ€¦” Those are the examples of alliteration in this poem. That concludes the literary and stylistic devices of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If” (Yahoo! Answers).
This page is about my impression of the poem. I really liked the poem. After reading it a lot of times and then seeing what other people had to say about it, I just kept getting more and more out of it. I started understanding more of what it really meant and was saying every time I read it.
My first impression was, ‘Wow! This poem is really confusing and doesn’t make much sense.” I thought it would be hard to write about because it was kind of confusing. I also thought that because it was so short that I wouldn’t have enough information to write one page about. But, as you can see, I was wrong.
As I kept working, I started understanding it and actually started to really enjoy it. I had more than enough information to write about. I also learned some from this. Most things I already knew, but it is always good to be reminded. I think that Rudyard Kipling was an amazing writer, considering all the tragedies he had to go through. It was almost like he was writing this poem partially out of his own experiences.
I really liked the points he tried to get across and am just surprised that he was able to express such a powerful message in that short of a poem. I really thought this poem was great and can understand how it became so popular throughout the world so fast. That is my impression of “If” by Rudyard Kipling.
Test Over Rudyard Kipling and “If”
1.) Where was Kipling born?
a. Rome b. Brattleboro c. England d. Bombay
2.) How many siblings did Kipling have?
a. 3 b. 1 c. 5 d. 2
3.) Where did Kipling go to school?
a. United Services College
b. United Forces College
4.) Where did Kipling spend most of his childhood? a. Bombay b. England
c. Brattleboro d. Rome
5.) What was Kipling’s foster parents name? a. Aunty Lily b. Aunty Rosa
b. Aunty Sue c. Aunty Mae
6.) How many kids did Kipling have?
a. 1 b. 2 c. 3 d. 4
7.) What was Kipling’s wife’s name?
a. Carrie b. Sue c. Jane d. Lynn
8.) Who was closest to Kipling?
a. Uncle b. Dad c. Mom d. Foster mom
9.) When Kipling was 16 where did he move?
a. Bombay b. Rome c. Lahore d. Vermont
10.) What was Kipling’s sister’s name?
a. Alice b. Jen c. Carrie d. Rosa
11.) What was Kipling’s really famous poem?
a. “Now” b. “What If” c. “If” d. “Why”
12.) How many times is alliteration shown in “If”? a. 2 b. 1 c. 10 d. 4
13.) During what big event did he write “If”?
a. WWII b. Civil War c. WWI d. Cold War
14.) How many of his children died young?
a. 3 b. 1 c. 2 d. None
15.) How many literary devices show up in “If”? a. 0 b. 5 c. 6 d. 3
16.) How many big themes are in “If”?
a. 3 b. 5 c. 2 d. 4
17.) How would Kipling’s foster parents be described? a. Kind b. Shy c. Generous
18.) Who did Kipling write “If” to? a. Wife b. Sister c. Dad d. Son
19.) What year was Kipling born?
a.1855 b. 1885 c. 1865 d. 1845
20.) What year did Kipling die?
a. 1926 b. 1936 c. 1916 d.1906
Fill in the blank:
1.) Kipling was awarded a in 1907.
2.) Kipling spent every with his aunt and uncle.
3.) Kipling was by his foster parents.
4.) Kipling had his whole life.
5.) Kipling’s son died in .
6.) “If” was written to show people how to solve simply.
7.) Using the word ‘you’ over and over in if is called .
8.) The three literary devices in Kipling’s poem “If” were , , .
9.) Kipling married his friend’s .
10.) Kipling’s birthday was December .
What were the main ideas that Rudyard Kipling was trying to get across to the readers of his poem “If”?
Test Answer Key
Fill in the Blank:
1.) Nobel Peace Prize
8.) Repetition, Personification, and Alliteration.
He wanted to show people not to value worldly possessions. He also wanted people to be happy with life and enjoy each and every minute of it. Not to hold on to grudges or act like a child. Stop thinking all about yourself and stop being a conceited person. Be righteous but not self- righteous. Never give up when things get hard. Enjoy your life and everyone in it. That is the main points Rudyard Kipling was expressing in his poem “If”.
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