7d Literature

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1    Rudyard Kipling's If is one of the best known poems. Read the first line in each stanza and the two last lines of the poem. Who does Kipling address the poem to? Read the biography below to find out.


British author and poet, born in Bombay, India. He had a very happy childhood until, at the age of six, he and his sister were sent to England to be educated. His next six years were miserable. He was neglected and treated cruelly by the couple who were looking after him. At 12, he went to live with his aunt and only then spoke of what he had gone through. At the age of 16, he returned to his beloved India where he worked as a journalist. He wrote many poems and short stories ,including Mandalay (1890) and Gunga Din (1892). These were published in the paper along with his news reports and later as collections.

He travelled extensively and married in 1892. Over the next few years Kipling wrote The Jungle Books (1894-1895), Captains Courageous (1897), The Day's Work (1898) and many more. He had two daughters and a son, and life was wonderful until his eldest daughter died of pneumonia at the age of 7. From then on, life was never the same again, and the family moved to the English countryside for a secluded life. Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, but he turned down the honour of Poet Laureate  and a knighthood many times.

Kipling's most famous poem If (1895) is an inspiring, motivational poem about how to overcome difficulties. It emphasises the value of inner strength and the ability to not show your emotions.

1a poet appointed by government to write poems for special occasions


 If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;  If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or, being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;  If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves1 to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stooj) and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your Mings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss2, And lose, and start again at your beginnings  And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew3 To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the w§ which says to them: "Hold on";

1a dishonesTperson (old fashioned usage)2 a gambling garr played with coins3 a cord connecting a muscle to a bo. 4enemies 5 are important to you (old fashioned)

2   Listen and read the poem. What message does it convey?

a   overcome your problems and try to become an honourable and dignified person
b   live your life and don't let problems and difficulties get in your way

3  a Read again and match the underlined words/phrases with their meanings below.

1    ability to identify with ordinary people 2    changed in meaning 3 things/people dishonestly pretending to be sth else 4 pile 5 old or damaged 6 stand/walk with shoulders bent forward 7 stay calm 8 determination to do sth
9 thinking & doing what's right 10 money won

b Explain the words in bold.

Words related to character/personality

4  Which of the following does Kipling advise? Find references in the poem.

Verse 1
ignore doubt
be patient
be honest
be courageous
be modest

Verse 2
be imaginative
be thoughtful
be understanding
accept that people lie
be strong

Verse 3
take risks
be positive
be uncomplaining
be determined<u</u>

Verse 4
be polite
be modest
be tolerant
be respectful
be productive

5  Complete the sentences with the correct prepositions or particle "to" from the poem, then use each of the phrases in bold in an example of your own.

1    I can't bear    .......... see Jackie ever again.
2    My brother often used to do something naughty, then blame it ............ me.
3    We have to make allowance .......... Tom's mistake. He's been quite ill lately.
4    Don't give way     ........ anger, Tracy! Try to calm down.
5    My dad built .......... his business from scratch.
6    You can tell me. I won't breathe a word .......... it to anyone!
7    I usually go to bed long    .......... everyone else.
8    Ben found his course very difficult, but he managed to hold .......and not give up.

6   The poet uses opposites to emphasise what he says and convince the reader. In pairs, choose one of the verses and find the opposites.

>  verse 1 line 3 trust /doubt

7   Look at the poem. How many verses are there? How many lines are there in each verse? How many syllables are there in each line? Now look at the last word in each line. Which line rhymes with the first line? the second line? Does the poem follow the same rhyming pattern in every verse?

английский язык

8  Listen to the first four lines of the poem and underline the stressed syllables. Listen again and repeat to feel the rhythm.

9   How does the poem make you feel? bored? excited? depressed? encouraged? discouraged? inspired? motivated? Explain your answers.

> The poem makes me feel inspired to follow the advice and try to become a better person.

английский язык

10  Read the Study Skills box, then identify some examples of these features of poetry in Rudyard Kipling's poem.

11  Portfolio: Work in groups. Write one or more new verses for If. Use any of the rhyming words below or your own ideas. Recite your new verse(s) to the class.

despair - care
need - greed

forgive - live
pain - gain

> If you can feel sorrow yet never despair; If you can be kind to those without care etc.

Английский язык. 11 класс : учеб. для общеобразоват. учреждений / [О.В. Афанасьева, Дж.Дули, И.В. Михеева и др.]. - 2-е изд., доп. и перераб. - М.: Express Publishing : Просвещение, 2009. - 244 с. : ил. - (Английский в фокусе).

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