If We Must Die CommonLit Answers Key 2023 [FREE Access]

In this session, we will be bringing you the updated answers for If We Must Die topic.

If We Must Die CommonLit Answer Key

Let us first read If We Must Die passage and will answer at the end.


If We Must Die
By Claude McKay (1889-1948) was a Jamaican-American writer, poet, and a seminal Kgure during the Harlem Renaissance. McKay dedicated his life to Knighting for the rights of oppressed people. “If We Must Die” rejects McKay’s perspective on black people’s experiences in America during the early 20th century


If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursèd lot.

If we must die, O let us nobly die,

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

O, kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!

Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men, we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but Righting back!

If We Must Die CommonLit Answers Key

Let us now discuss CommonLit If We Must Die answers to the questions asked:


Q. Which statement best describes the main theme of the poem?

Ans: Dignity is worth fighting for, even at the assurance of death.


Q. What is the purpose of the alliteration in line 4?

Ans: It repeats a letter sound to highlight the insults being made.


 Q. What is the meaning of lines 7-8?

Ans: that dying honorably forces even the enemy to pay their respects


 Q. PART A: In line 8, “constrained” means about the same as…

Ans: forced


 Q. PART B: Which phrase from the poem provides the best clue to the meaning of “constrained”?

Ans: “In vain; then even the monsters we defy” (Line 7)


 Q. PART A: In lines 13-14, the diction portrays the enemy as which of the following?

Ans: weak


 Q. PART B: Which of the following words helped you choose the answer to Part A?

Ans: “cowardly”


 Q. PART A: The tone of this poem can be described as:

Ans: inspirational


 Q. PART B: Which TWO phrases helped you answer Part A?

Ans: “let us nobly die” and “let us show us brave”


Discussion Questions with answer (If We Must Die)

Q. According to the speaker, how should a person face death? Explain your answer in detail.

Ans: He wants to face it like a man with the courage to fight back


Q. Based on your own experience, how do people face death? Cite evidence from your own life, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

Ans: Feel like people don’t face death outside until the funeral and some still don’t face it then and others it just hits them… the minute they say somebody died they start crying.


Q. Consider the time period during which McKay wrote: “If We Must Die.” How might the social conditions of the era and McKay’s experience as a black writer in Harlem have informed his views on death and bravery?

Ans: It was scary and they properly felt like at one point in time he might have thought about killing himself.


Q. In the context of this poem, what does it mean to be brave? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

Ans: Don’t be afraid of life, anything that was put in front of you was put in front of you for a lesson or an opportunity.


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