If I should labor through daylight and dark,
Consecrate, valorous, serious, true,
Then on the world I may blazon my mark;
And what if I don’t, and what if I do?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Dorothy Parker's poem Philosophy


  1. Jess says:

    I think this poem has less to do with a career choice and more to do with the labors of life: what do we make of the so-frequently heard phrase, “live your life to the fullest”? Why are we here? How do we define our world and once defined, what kind of mark shall we strive for? “What if we dont?” asks us to consider the justification for seeking greatness within ourselves and our smaller circles, rather than an external mark on the world at large, perhaps. Both marks are as noble and important. I think it’s a brilliant poem.

  2. Karen says:

    In a few lines Dorothy Parker managed to capture my thoughts about pursuing professional success. What does it all mean? Why do we do what we do? —Now if I only had the answer…

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