Scarlet Ibis Theme Essay

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...

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The Scarlet Ibis ( Symbolism Analysis)

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“The Scarlet Ibis” Symbolism Analysis The story the Scarlet Ibis, by James Hurst, tells the story and relationship of two brothers and how they change during the story to end up in a tragic end. The plot of the story is shaped around a very clever symbol, The Scarlet Ibis. The Ibis surrounds the plot of the story and its actions are used as foreshadow and symbol to Doodle’s. The Scarlet Ibis in the story is linked with Doodle in a very clever way, which collaborates to the plot and mainly to the characterization in the short story. The Ibis has many similarities with one of the main character of the story, Doodle.

Just like father said “It lives in the tropics – South America to Florida. A storm must have brought it here”, that shows us that the Ibis is not native from where they find him and he is not supposed to be there. Doodle shares this same characteristic, he as well, is different to the world because of his health conditions, we also have this feeling that he doesn’t belong there just like the ibis and he was supposed to be dead since the beginning of his life. But another characteristic both of them share is that they have overcome many problems in their lives which lead to their tragic death.

The ibis flew all the way from his native habitat to where the family lives, he overcame many problems during the storm and just like doodle he went through a lot of things that made him weaker and more fragile. Doodle also overcame many problems he faced during the story and was also put through a lot of situations where he had to overexert himself in order to satisfy Brother’s necessities. Both boy and bird died in a tragic way, “alone” and after being put through more than they could resist. Another thing that both of them have in common is the way they die.

Doodle’s death is in many ways comparable to the Ibis’s death. It says that “Its long, graceful neck jerked twice into an S, and then straightened out, and the bird was still. ” “Its legs were crossed and its clawlike feet were delicately curved at rest” “Even death did not mar its grace” – The neck of the bird is very similar to what is told of Doodle’s neck at the moment of his death, Doodle’s neck “appeared unusually long and slim” just like the Ibis’s and also his legs which were “bent sharply at the knees, had never before seemed so fragile so thin”.

Doodle’s most visible similarity with the bird, is the color Red, The color red represents blood, pain and death, and so the Scarlet Ibis is a symbol to those colors and it also foreshadows Doodle’s “vermillion” neck, meaning his death, both Doodle and the bird were red at the moment of their death. Other thing that somehow related both of them is the storm; Brother is in some way the “storm”, just like the storm was the reason for the death of the ibis, and the reason to its exhausting effort.

Brother is the reason to Doodle’s death and the causing of his pointless overexertion. And later on, Doodle is found on a real storm just like the one which brought the ibis. One of the major ways that the story collaborates to the characterization is that Doodle is the only one who relates to the ibis, and he is the one who has some kind of connection with it. Both of them die in a way that was not meant to kill them, the storm didn’t mean to kill the ibis and brother, although very cruel, didn’t mean to kill his innocent brother.

The ibis and Doodle both carry some tone of innocence within themselves, the characterization of Doodle is also reinforced by his fantasies of people with wings, and that also brings its similarity with the bird. The Author uses the Ibis as a very important character and as a symbolic link with Doodle, The characterization and Plot of the story are very cleverly surrounded by the Scarlet Ibis. The scarlet ibis is on the title and the whole story is some kind of “introduction” to what happens after the ibis arrives.

All the characters, specially Doodle, share some characteristics and are portrayed somehow in something related to the bird. Another use for the bird within the context and plot of the story is that it serves as a reference point for the plot structure of the short story. The animal is in the title, the first sentence and in the last sentence and its used as a big reference within the story. In conclusion, James Hurst adds the symbol of the Scarlet Ibis to create more images to the story; it’s also used as a form of characterization and to contribute to the plot. The ibis brightens the significance of Doodle’s character.

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It displays how both Ibis and Boy exist in a world which they can’t live in because they are seen as different. Hurst also portrays Doodle’s innocence and kindness through the symbol of the bird and at the end; their deaths are almost exact portraits of each other’. The ibis also contributes to the plot in the sense that everything that happens in the story is somehow related to the ibis and the appearance of the bird starts to create the climax of the story. James Hurst uses symbolism to collaborate to the plot and characterization in the story which makes the short story very understandable and memorable for the readers.

Author: Royce Ballin

in The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Ibis ( Symbolism Analysis)

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