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rudyard kipling

Explain one simile or personification in the poem "If."


There are a good few examples of personification in this famous poem by Rudyard Kipling. Kipling is committed to personifying various abstract concepts throughout; he first personifies dreams, advising the reader not to make dreams "your master." By this, he means that one should not allow oneself to become so obsessed with chasing dreams that other, more rational and reasonable things, become forgotten. Kipling then goes on to describe "Triumph and Disaster" as "impostors." The two are capitalized in the manner of proper nouns, which suggests that they are being treated as people. Moreover, the idea of them being impostors indicates that they have some sort of motivation of their own, as people do. By describing them as impostors, Kipling suggests that they are both misleading; although they are seemingly opposites, both of them can lead a person into a trap. While disaster can make one feel, falsely, as if all is lost, so triumph can lead one into a false sense of security which can subsequently cause ill effects. Kipling urges the reader to react in the same way to both of these misleading situations -- in both cases, he suggests, we should continue on in a calm and rational manner, not being swayed from our course by either success or failure.

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