If Essay

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Tamara Fernando is a writer and editor based in Seattle, Washington. In this essay, Fernando shows how both Christianity and Buddhism play a role in shaping Kipling's didactic poem "If."

Rudyard Kipling was the most beloved writer of his time, and his most famous work was the poem "If," a four-stanza poem that first appeared in his children's collection Rewards and Fairies. "If" gained instantaneous popularity as an independent piece, a popularity that persists to this day. The poem is a rather inspirational instruction in the achievement of idealized ethical and moral behavior.

Kipling himself was a confirmed agnostic throughout his life. However, upon careful examination, the poem "If" reveals a deep influence of religious ethics upon the worldview that Kipling puts forth in this poem. In particular, "If" illustrates the influence of both Protestant Christian and of Buddhist philosophies in a quest toward an ideal life.

Kipling...

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This section contains 2,003 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the If Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
If from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.