If We Must Die
If We Must Die Themes
Little Words, Big Ideas
Death is a favorite theme for poetry. Yep, there's nothing like mortality to help a person sort out what is important in life. However, McKay's "If We Must Die" goes beyond Emily Dickinson's fantas...
Though the speaker of "If We Must Die" doesn't just come out and say it, we get the impression that a battle is raging. The speaker urges his allies to fight their enemies bravely, though they will...
Men and Masculinity
McKay's speaker in "If We Must Die" focuses a great deal on nobility, bravery, and honor – stereotypically masculine features. He also implies that men are violent, but also assumes that real...
Honor runs throughout the other themes of "If We Must Die," and it is the underlying idea of the poem. The speaker feels that on his side are the "good guys," because they are honorable men and wil...
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