The Influence of Rudyard Kipling

2 February 2019

If only the world worked as it is supposed to work. There would be no poverty or homelessness, but there is. However, one can still hold themselves to the ideals of how people should act. “If” by Rudyard Kipling describes the way I want to live out my life. Rudyard Kipling, a man born in British-controlled Bombay, India, identified himself as an Anglo-Indian. Yet, despite his self-identification, he lived the majority of his life outside of his birth country, though many of his works reflect his Indian origins. Kipling lived in many countries and territories, including the United States, South Africa, England, and India. Until the rise of Nazis in Germany, he would have the covers of his books stamped with the swastika, in the traditional Indian meaning of good luck. Although he did not live to see the fall of Nazi Germany, he did foresee the danger it would pose to Britain. Eventually, he gained worldwide recognition for his novels and poetry, gaining the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kipling is most well-known for the Jungle Book, a novel about an Indian boy, Mowgli, surviving in the jungle with the aid of a wolf pack. However, “If” captures the essence of what being an adult should be and what I hope to someday attain.
The first time I heard of Kipling was when I was on a trip with my father, and he started reciting several of Kipling’s poems. Most notable were “Cold Iron”, The Ballad of East and West, and “If”. These poems will stick with me for the rest of my life. However, “If” has influenced me more than any other poem because it speaks of a way to live life to its fullest, to seize opportunities even though you might lose everything, and to keep what makes me who I am close no matter where I go in life or what station I may hold. The other reason Rudyard Kipling had such an impact in my life comes from my father. My father used to read me the Jungle Book and Kipling’s poem when I was a child. Whether we were in the car or at home, he would have a poem ready or would pick a collection of Kipling’s works and read them to me regardless of how busy he was. From Kipling’s influence, I gained an understanding of life, but more importantly I gained memories of my father that I will always cherish.

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