A Critical Summary of If by Rudyard Kipling



The poem "If" is a beautiful insight into human intelligence and wisdom's way taking shape. In short it is a little advice of how to become successful and wise in the practical world around us. It is meant for those that wish to wield their pressure on the world. The precise and witty use of words really inspires our minds and souls.

The poet advises us to "keep your head" and stay calm when the hour pressure is on. He demands us to show some mettle and courage when other are "losing" their heads and "blaming" us. Whatever be the case, we must stand by our stance and persistently move forward. We need not meddle with the people that doubt us. They may even hate us, but we must not let hate penetrate into us. Let them doubt but keep proving them wrong till the last moment. Here the poet emphasizes on the importance of patience and acknowledgment of truth. In other words, neither lie nor pose to be wise. Perhaps wisdom lies in it. In the words of Plato: He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."

He encourages us to dream without day dreaming. He appreciates thinking and creativity of new ideas but we must not live in our thoughts. He considers that "Triumph and Disaster" are not real. They are "imposters". Therefore, we must neither be too elated on triumph nor too dejected at triumph. There will be occasions in your life when people will present your statements and sheer truths alloyed with falsehood, you must not be shocked. People may try to nor be a befool you and set up "a trap" by twisting and mixing you. Be not worried. Take everything calmly and wisely when you bear great losses. God has already provided you the tools; however weary they may look, use them to remake and rebuild your life with them.

Then the poet reminds us that life can turn around and we must use all our energies, both positive and negative that come as "winnings" and "risk" all, then we may truly aspire to become strong and successful. In fact, the Rudyard Kipling is guiding us to the path of bravery coupled with wisdom so that we don't lose our path from the roads of victory. There have been episodes in history regarding great men's being fortunate that they hit upon some great opportunity that nature provided them, Kipling highlights the effort and failures that led the great man to be truly victorious. In short, a victorious person does not become so by virtue of a single step, he has to try again and again and amid these attempts of failure there is one such that is called success. But for success one has to hold on for a longer period of time; resilience is the key to all victories. So a man must "hold on when there is nothing" left for him apparently because persistent effort will pave way for his success.
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