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Overview

“If—” is a poem of advice by the British writer Rudyard Kipling, written in 1896 and published in 1910. Among the most beloved of Kipling’s many works, “If—” features a father addressing his son about what it means to be a man. The speaker lays out his vision for the masculine ideal through a series of parallel “if” clauses, a structure that gives the poem its title. Though today many might question the speaker’s insistence that real men should remain stoic and keep a stiff upper lip, the poem continues to be anthologized and recited widely.

Read a summary & analysis, an analysis of the speaker, and explanations of important quotes from “If—.”

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