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Saturday, 26 December 2009

Poetry Study Aid: IF Rudyard Kipling Part Two

IF Rudyard Kipling
Stanza III

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
1. What is counseled by the poet in the following lines?
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
Pitch-And-Toss = Pitch and Toss (also known as Liney or Jingles) is a simple coin game, known by this name in Britain since at least the 18th century. It is often played in playgrounds and colleges throughout. Pitch and Toss was (and is) a game in which coins were thrown at a determined point - a stick or whatever - the nearest to that point being the winner.
Kipling is using it to symbolize a willingness to risk everything on a venture.

The third stanza is characterized by hyperbole, or the use of exaggeration as a literary device. Kipling makes a recommendation to the reader to put together all his achievements and risk all of them at one hazard in the expectation of winning. The idea expressed here is the need for complete detachment with which an individual should regard both profit and loss, neither of which is permanent.
2. What is expected of a perfect man when he loses all that he has achieved or gained?
When an individual risks everything at a single throw at a hopeful gain and loses everything he has achieved in the gamble, he should not be disheartened. On the other hand, he should start again, with full enthusiasm and without any complaint, from the beginning to rebuild his achievements and recover his loses.
3. Elucidate: And never breath a word about your loss;
And never breath a word about your loss means that one should not utter a word of complaint with reference to your lose.
When a person hazards all at a go in the hope of gaining something and loses everything he has achieved in the venture, he should not be discouraged. On the contrary, he should launch again, with full passion and without any complaint, from the start to restructure his accomplishments and reclaim his loses.
4. What does the poet exemplify in the lines:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
When a person hazards all at a go in the hope of gaining something and loses everything he has achieved in the venture, he should not be discouraged. On the contrary, he should launch again, with full passion and without any complaint, from the start to restructure his accomplishments and reclaim his loses. He should compel his spirit, courage and strength, (heart and nerve and sinew) to assist him and make the utmost effort to restore his achievements. Even if everything is lost, he should not lose his passion, his composure and fortitude.
5. When all is lost what remains in a man to reconstruct himself? Why it is so important in his life?
Kipling strongly urges to "Hold on!" when all is lost, i.e., a person should stand firm on his ideals and be determined to carry on with untiring efforts to fulfill his dreams. The faith in his ideals and the determination to consummate them is of great significance in his life as these virtues hold his life together. Loss of self-confidence and the weakening of the urge to act will ruin his life. Never lose heart even if all is lost; carry on and on until the goal is reached.
6. Kipling highlights the essential qualities of a true leader in the stanza. How?
Once again the poet Kipling resorts to the technique of paradox in the stanza to highlight the essential qualities of a true leader. Passion and detachment are distinctive characteristics of a true leader. It is not Kipling's standpoint that exceptional leadership demands the impossible — that is, to concurrently maintain conflicting traits and qualities — but that exemplary leadership calls for action that is grounded on a perspective that is complex, many-sided, and eventually all encompassing.
Stanza IV
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man my son!
1. What do you understand by talk with the crowds? How can a man talk with the crowds and keep his virtue?
To talk with the crowds means with mingle and socialize with the common people. When a man keeps company with the common people, what Shakespeare calls the riff-raff; there is the possibility of him losing his dignity and stature in the eyes of others. However, a true leader ought to maintain his virtuous qualities and high breeding and not lose them while moving among the common men.
2. Explain: Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch;
A real leader will be equally comfortable with people of high standing as well as the commoners. He should be able to understand and deal with both the cream and the froth of the society with equal ease. He is not humbled in the company of the nobles and not arrogant towards the common men.
3. Bring out the paradox in the lines:
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
We find that Kipling employs the technique of the paradox throughout the poem to effectively communicate his ideas and arguments. A man can be damaged by the deeds and words of his enemies but more belittling is the injury that the damaging acts and wounding words of a friend. However, a true leader is stoically remains detached and is neither hurt by his friends nor by his foes.
The advice presented here is to treat all men in the same way and give importance to your foes as well as your friends but with the characteristic objectivity of a wise man well versed in the way of the world.
4. Make clear the meaning of :
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run –
In these lines the poet Kipling affirms the importance of a strong work ethics. The minutes are unforgiving that is the time is impatient and relentless. A moment spent in lethargy makes us regretful in the days to come. We should make use of every moment in our life in our strife to attain our goals. All the sixty seconds in a minute should be put to worthy use. Constant and diligent labour is the sterling virtue of a genuine man. Praise of a strong work ethic is echoed throughout the poem, as is a warning against idleness.
5. The poem concludes with the assertion ‘you’ll be a man’. What kind of a man is implied?
The poem concludes with an assertion that if a man follows the ideal qualities of a true leader, which are articulated at various points of the poem, he will become an exemplary human being.
A real leader is humble yet unservile, is passionate yet prudent, understanding yet detached. He treats everyone equally and impartially. He is at home with the nobles as well as with the rustic. He is not harmed by the words and deeds of his friends or his foes. He is neither hostile to his enemies nor partial to his friends. He tirelessly strives every moment of his life to realise the goals of his life.
Such a perfect man will lack nothing in the world and will be the monarch of all he surveys.

3 comments:

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