If Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 22 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of If.
This section contains 656 words
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"If" was originally written as a companion piece to the children's story "Brother Square Toes," a story about George Washington's presidency during the French Revolution. The story portrays the character of George Washington as a model leader and was meant to illustrate to children the virtues of an exemplary public figure. "If" was placed immediately after this story in order to distill the lessons of the story; the poem also offers a lesson in the characteristics and virtues of a model public figure or leader.

However, as evidenced in the last line of "If," the poem is not addressed to all children but specifically to boys. The poem therefore creates a mutual inclusiveness between the attainment of true manhood and the abilities and virtues of a true leader. This inclusiveness, by its very nature, excludes women, reflecting the attitude of early twentieth century society toward women...

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This section contains 656 words
(approx. 2 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.