Justify the title of Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘IF’. Or, Why is the poem called ‘If -‘?
The poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling deals with the human qualities and character traits that we need to develop to succeed in life, and more so to be a good human being. The poem is written in one conditional sentence where the poet talks about the virtues first and about the outcomes at the end. In the process, he has ended up in writing a number of conditional clauses beginning with ‘if’.
This structure is actually symbolic in suggesting that we can get the rewards only after we fulfill the preconditions. Moreover, this makes the readers eager to know what would happen if and when we meet all these conditions, thus retaining the curiosity and interest till the end.
And, as the main theme of the poem is a combination of so many if’s, the title ‘If’ is an apt one for the poem.
The poem is titled as “if” because at first the poet tells us about the moral values and at the end the poet tells about the outcomes. So, all the lines in the poem begin with if and this is the conditional clause. That is why the poem is titled as “if”.
I think that poet calls the poem “If” because these are the virtues given by Rudyard Kipling. These are the moral guidelines a person should follow to lead a good and successful life. These are not compulsory for a man to follow.