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If And Vitai Lampada Comparison Essay

980 words - 4 pages

‘If’ and ‘Vitai Lampada’ Essay
The poem “If-“ is about making possibilities into realities. A good example of this is a boy turning into a man, with the father making a guide to success. "If-" contains a multitude of characteristics deemed essential to the ideal man. They almost all express stoicism and reserve – the classic British "stiff upper lip." It is a didactic poem in the form of a dramatic monologue from the father. The three main ideas behind the poem defining a man are: Patience, Determination and risk-taking. The poem was written in 1895 by Rudyard Kipling, the same time as the Jameson Raid happened in South Africa against Paul Kruger’s Transvaal republic. He states in his 1937 ...view middle of the document...

The ‘never-give-up’ outlook towards life and determination is another major theme of the poem. The poet asks us to keep striving towards our goals, against all odds, even if it involves putting all of our life’s achievements at stake. Shall we lose all we have while trying to get ahead in life, we must not back down but muster enough will power and determination to start again from scratch.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
The attitude of never giving up and working hard certainly could be read as an element of the conservative technique, however the determination and message of striving is there for all to adhere to regardless of political vision. It is also much more than the technique of a continuation in the face of adversity, it is about the way this is done and never breathing "a word about your loss" shows the utmost element of self-dignity.

The poem often showcases life as a gamble in which all our achievements might get washed away. The poet wants us to be willing to take that risk in life as it will bring us closer to our final goals in life. This is shown by:
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
“Pitch-and-toss”: a gambling game in which players compete to toss coins as close to a wall as possible without hitting it. Winner collects the losers' coins. These lines describe a man having the boldness to cast away all he has worked for in a lifetime on a risky opportunity. The deeper meaning could be that all of these “winnings” (i.e. money) are not as important as...

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