The Scarlet Ibis

"The Scarlet Ibis" was published in 1960, and written by James Hurst. The short story is about a selfish boy, who is always pushing his sick brother, Doodle, past his boundary points.

1,589 Questions
The Scarlet Ibis
Foreshadowing

What are some themes foreshadowing and symbolism of The Scarlet Ibis?

Theme of Pride

"They did not know that I did it for myself; that pride, whose slave I was, spoke to me louder than all their voices; and that Doodle walked only because I was ashamed of having a crippled brother."

-This quote demonstrates the theme of pride. Brothers pride is the only reason that he teaches Doodle to walk. His selfish actions have a short term positive result, but in the long term, it ends up killing his brother.

"When Doodle was five years old, I was embarrassed at having a brother of that age who couldn't walk, so I set out to teach him."

-He is not interested in helping Doodle so that Doodle fits in, but so that he fits in and is not different. Brother is telling this story as an adult and fully recognizes that he did this b/c of his own pride and nothing else.

He also states...

"I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death."

-He knows now that the pride that made him teach Doodle to walk was wonderful he did learn to walk), but also could be terrible( since it blinded him to the danger of teaching him). It could be said that at Brothers young age (should be about 11), he couldn't really comprehend the end result of what he was doing (he didn't intentionally set out to kill him), but he did know that what he was doing was wrong, since he hid it from his parents.

Foreshadowing

"It was in the clove of seasons, summer was dead but autumn had not been born, that the ibis lit in the bleeding tree."

-This entire sentence alludes to the fact that this story is going to be tragic. The color red often makes people think of death, and there are many words in this quote that bring us to the color red. A clove is a red flower, and blood is red. It also mentions summer being dead, which again foreshadows the tragic ending of the story.

"The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted through...our house, speaking softly the names of our dead."

-This is foreshadowing the death of Doodle.

"They named him William Armstrong...Such a name sounds only good on a tombstone."

-Brother also speaks about his name, which he states is only good on a tomb stone.

"Then I'll leave you here by yourself," I threatened, and made as if I were going down. Doodle was frightened of being left. "Don't go leave me, Brother," he cried..."

-Doodles crying out for his Brother not to leave him behind is similar to the ending where Doodles calls for Brother

"Dead birds is bad luck," said Aunt Nicey, poking her head from the kitchen door. "Specially red dead birds!"

-Self explanatory

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Relationships
Short Stories
The Scarlet Ibis

What did the narrator learn in the story The Scarlet Ibis?

That he is a TOTAL douschbag. He was practically responsible for Doodle's death

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The Scarlet Ibis

What the theme of The Scarlet Ibis?

Conflict Between Love and Pride

"The Scarlet Ibis" explores the conflict between love and pride in Brother's relationship with his physically and mentally disabled brother, Doodle. Brother loves and appreciates Doodle, as can be seen in the incident when the brothers fantasize about living in Old Woman Swamp, when Brother is overwhelmed by the beauty of the images that Doodle conjures up.

Love is accepting and compassionate in its nature. But Brother's love for Doodle is challenged by two very human failings: pride, and the cruelty that results from it. Brother feels embarrassed and ashamed of Doodle's limitations and obvious differences from other people. They threaten his sense of pride. He decides to make Doodle do all the things that other people do in spite of the fact that Doodle himself sees no need to conform. Teaching Doodle to walk is Brother's first success. When Brother's family congratulates him on his success, he cries with shame, because he knows that he acted not out of love but out of pride, "whose slave [he] was." Brother's pride again triumphs over love when he continues to push Doodle to harder physical feats in spite of Doodle's obviously declining health. In the end, Doodle's heart fails under the strain, a victim of Brother's insistence. Well might Brother reflect, "I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death." In this case, the "life" aspect is the undoubted progress that Doodle makes under Brother's demanding tutelage, and the "death" aspect refers to the fate of the fragile boy.

The Desire to Make Over Others in One's Own Image

All of the family, except Brother, accepts Doodle as he is. However, their acceptance is not portrayed as entirely positive, as it comes with a heavy dose of resignation and hopelessness about Doodle's prospects. Mama and Daddy are so convinced that he will die soon after birth that Daddy orders a coffin for him. When Doodle does not die, Daddy makes the go-cart, accepting that Doodle will never walk. The consignment of coffin and go-cart to the loft are signs of the progress that Doodle makes in being like his older brother.

Brother's impatience with Doodle's limitations is as ambiguous as the rest of the family's acceptance of them. But Brother's attitude is the more dangerous because it forces change on a body that is not equipped to deal with it and on a mind that does not desire it. Brother's success in re-making Doodle in his own image is greeted as wonderful progress by everyone except Doodle. When Brother tells him that he must learn to walk, Doodle asks, "'Why?'" Neither does Doodle understand why he should struggle to avoid being different from everybody else at school. Because the story is told from the point of view of Brother and not Doodle, it is not clear how much Doodle's life is improved by his new skills. But it is certain that after the initial success of the walking project, Brother's attempts to push Doodle further are destructive to Doodle's health and eventually contribute to his death.

Brother tells us several times that his efforts with Doodle are motivated by pride: he is ashamed of having a disabled brother. There is a suggested parallel here with the background theme of World War I (1914 - 18), and many readers see an implied critique of the war in the story of Doodle and Brother. Significant numbers of American troops were sent to fight in Europe in the summer of 1918, when "The Scarlet Ibis" is set. Anti-war movements, like those gaining ground in 1960 when the story was written, point out that wars fought against other nations necessarily involve attempts to make over other nations in the aggressor's image. Prerequisites to such attempts, say these movements, are pride and arrogance: the aggressor nation has a conviction that it is in some way better than the victim nation and has a right to re-make the victim nation in its own image. This is generally as destructive and pointless in the long term as Brother's attempts to remake Doodle. World War I, far from being the "war to end all wars," as was claimed at the time, was soon followed by World War II (1939 - 45). Though leaders claimed at the time that war was the only option, many modern scholars question this view. Hurst does not shy away from emphasizing that the war's main legacy in the United States was the deaths of many men, a fact that he drives home in his references to American war graves and deaths.

People Who Are Different

Both Doodle and the scarlet ibis stand out as different; indeed, they are unique in the environment in which they find themselves. "The Scarlet Ibis" dramatizes the ways in which people respond to those who are different or disabled. At one end of the spectrum, Doodle's family believes that any meaningful quality of life is impossible and expects the boy to die. At the other end, Brother is determined to re-make Doodle so that he conforms to the norm and no longer embarrasses Brother. Doodle fails to identify with either expectation, refusing to die or admit that the coffin made for him is his, and remaining oblivious to Brother's insistence that he should not be different from the other children at school. In a sense, Doodle floats above the expectations of others like the winged beings of his fantasies. But finally, he succumbs in the face of the pressure of Brother to try to become the same as everyone else.

Brotherhood

It is significant that the lead protagonist of the story is known only by his relationship to Doodle: "Brother." This detail alerts readers to the fact that brotherhood is a major theme. Brother's love for Doodle is bound up with cruelty and shame. Doodle, for his part, is strongly attached to, and reliant upon, Brother and his main fear is of being left alone by him. He is terrified at Brother's threat to leave him in the barn loft if he does not touch the coffin, and cries, "'Don't leave me.'" He echoes these words with greater intensity on the day he dies, as Brother, bitter at Doodle's failure to perform the physical feats he has set for him, runs ahead of him in the rain. This time, Doodle cries, "Brother, Brother, don't leave me! Don't leave me!" Brother does leave him, if only temporarily, and the result is Doodle's death.

Because the story takes place against the background of World War I, Doodle's words and the theme of brotherhood suggest a wider resonance. Brotherhood among soldiers fighting in appalling conditions in mud-filled trenches was a frequent theme in war literature and even on war memorials. Loyalty to one's fellow soldiers was seen as vital; if a soldier was injured, the loyalty or betrayal of his colleagues could mean the difference between his living or dying. There are many stories of heroism involving men risking their own lives to save a fallen colleague and equally stories of horror involving wounded men being left to die. In a more universal sense, the carnage of the war brought home the need to embrace the ideal of the brotherhood of all mankind regardless of differences in nation of origin, race, or religion.

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Authors, Poets, and Playwrights
The Scarlet Ibis

Why did James Hurst write the story The Scarlet Ibis?

he wanted to show the common thing between the scarlet ibis and doodle. like both are fragile , both are in an unkindly environment.

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The Scarlet Ibis

What is an allusion in 'The Scarlet Ibis'?

Doodle's parents named him William Armstrong. Brother says that was like tying a big tail on a small kite.

^^ That's figurative language.

And allusion is when a story refers to another work of literature. In this case, when Aunt Nicey says that whatever Doodle and Brother will show them has to be as good as the Resurrection, she is referring to when Jesus comes back from the dead.

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The Scarlet Ibis

What is the plot of The Scarlet Ibis in the form of a plot diagram?

A scarlet Ibis dies on their house and Doodle and his brother plan to go bury it. Doodle's brother resents that Doodle is such a slow learner. He is mad at Doodle for not being 'normal.' His hatred for Doodle's disability takes over and he runs away when Doodle cries for help, thinking Doodle will catch up. But Doodle never does catch up, and the brother finds him huddled under a red tree dead.

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Allegory and Simile
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The Scarlet Ibis

What are some examples of personification in 'The Scarlet Ibis'?

"Lightning was playing across half the sky..."

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English Language
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The Scarlet Ibis

Who is narrating the story The Scarlet Ibis?

Doodle's Brother.

It is James Hurst because the author is telling the story of his past which means he was the brother.

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Birds
The Scarlet Ibis

Where does the color of a scarlet ibis come from?

The brilliant red color of the scarlet ibis comes from pigments in the bodies of the crustaceans that it eats.

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Allegory and Simile
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The Scarlet Ibis

What is the climax of The Scarlet Ibis?

The climax is when Brother picks up Doodle's drooping head only to have Doodle's limp body fall backwards and Brother realizes that Doodle has died most likely because of all the physical exertions he put Doodle through because he was too proud to have an invalid for a brother.

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The Scarlet Ibis

What did the wagon represent in The Scarlet Ibis?

His inablility to walk.

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The Scarlet Ibis

The Scarlet Ibis where does the story take place?

Most likely it is in North Carolina although the story does not say it specifically. Brother makes a reference to being sent to "Dix Hill" for asking crazy questions. Dix Hill was a name for the Dorothea Dix Hospital for patients with mental disorders in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Personification
The Scarlet Ibis

What is personification in 'The Scarlet Ibis'?

"In May and June there was no rain and the crops withered, curled up, then died under the thirsty sun."

"...lightening was playing across half the sky and pooped"

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The Scarlet Ibis

What are symbols and meanings in the scarlet ibis?

scarlet ibis- doodle- was pushed passed limits, and died as a result

weather- doodle's progress and health- weather bad doodle is sick and no progress made, good weather progress is made

birds- challenges doodle has overcome and doodle's decisions- screech owl, peacock, canary, hawk and the chicken,

go cart and coffin- challenges doodle has overcome

grindstone- doodle has been pushed to far

old woman swamp- garden of eden

red- death

clove of seasons- death

hawk and chicken- doodle (chicken) narrator (hawk) doodle pushed by narratot too hard and he is being torn apart by the decision he must make

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The Scarlet Ibis

What is a good symbol for the Scarlet Ibis?

two good symbols for the scarlet ibis is the scarlet ibis itself (the bird) it represents doodle and a second symbol is the old woman swamp it represents peace and happiness.

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The Scarlet Ibis

What birds are mentioned in the scarlet ibis?

scarlet ibis (of course) oriole, and screech owl. idk if there r any others though

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The Scarlet Ibis

In The Scarlet Ibis what is the main theme?

reveals a truth about the effects of love and pride

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The Scarlet Ibis

What is your one external conflict in The Scarlet Ibis?

man vs man

man vs nature

man vs supernatural

man vs society

those are all some conflicts that u will need in 9th grade

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School Subjects
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The Scarlet Ibis
Similarities Between

What does the scarlet ibis have to do with Doodle in 'The Scarlet Ibis'?

the ibis symbolizes doodle because:

Both die in a similar way (in a storm under a red plant in a crooked form), both cant survive in new conditions (ibis away from tropics, doodle in training) and both are abnormal in the world (fragile and weak in stature)

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Care of Birds
Birds
The Scarlet Ibis

What is the weight of an ibis stork bird?

19.6 pounds

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The Scarlet Ibis
The Necklace

How is madame loisel different from her husband?

Madame Loisel is more materialistic than her husband, and is also a perfectionist. Nonetheless, it makes it harder for her husband to please his wife.

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Romance Novels
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The Scarlet Ibis

In the scarlet ibis what does the ibis symbolis?

the scarlet ibis was foreshadowing Doodle;s fate. Like the scarlet ibis, Doodle was out of place and didn't belong. He was different and special.

The blood trickling down his mouth when he died was a reference to the scarlet feather of the ibis. the way older brother described doodle at the time of his passing was graceful. Like the ibis. also, the way Doodle neck hung back resembled that of the ibis. Lastly, they both died the same day, making their connection even deeper considering that Doodle was the first one to notice the ibis and the only one to honor it with a "proper" funeral.

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Literary Terminology
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The Scarlet Ibis

What is the tone in 'The Scarlet Ibis'?

regretful

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The Scarlet Ibis

What are doodle's two accomplishments in The Scarlet Ibis?

Doodle learned how to row a boat and how to walk.

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The Scarlet Ibis

What is the central theme in 'The Scarlet Ibis'?

i think the major theme of this story is brotherhood, for the writer is trying to express how brother's love each other but this love is masked with both cruelty and pride.Brother's love for Doodle is bound up with cruelty and shame. Doodle, for his part, is strongly attached to, and reliant upon, Brother and his main ...fear is of being left alone by him. He is terrified at Brother's threat to leave him.The Scarlet Ibis" explores the conflict between love and pride in Brother's relationship with his physically and mentally disabled brother, Doodle. Brother loves and appreciates Doodle, as can be seen in the incident when the brothers fantasize about living in Old Woman Swamp, when Brother is overwhelmed by the beauty of the images that Doodle conjures up. Love is accepting and compassionate in its nature. But Brother's love for Doodle is challenged by two very human failings: pride, and the cruelty that results from it. Brother feels embarrassed and ashamed of Doodle's limitations and obvious differences from other people. They threaten his sense of pride. now we see that conflict between love and pride is also a major theme

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