The doctrines of idealism and optimism are demonstrated in the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling. “If” advises the reader to achieve qualities and reach for perfection. “If” is answered in the book, Answering Back by Carol Ann Duffy’s poem, “Kipling”. Duffy’s response to “If” is appallingly contrasting in mood, diction, structure, and challenges Kipling’s ideals through example. “Kipling” is a narrative poem, telling the story of a gambler. “Kipling” is contrary to “If” in the sense that “Kipling” seems to oppose idealism and optimism and uses these doctrines as a response.