October 5, 2012
The Scarlet Ibis: Guilty or Innocent
I sometimes wonder if others are sent into the world specifically to teach others a lesson. Doodle’s brother in “The Scarlet Ibis”, tells us he has learned a lot from Doodle. He tells us that pride is “a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death.” Pride can kill a person. So, in a way, Doodle’s brother is responsible for his death.
It’s easy to see that Doodle’s brother wanted him to be normal just as much as everyone else. The difference is that everyone else wanted it so that Doodle could have a better life. Doodle’s brother wanted it so he wouldn’t have to deal with an invalid brother. He says that “having an invalid brother was unbearable.” The story shows us that even as a child Doodle’s brother could not accept him. “He was, from the onset, a disappointment.” At the age of six, (when Doodle was around three months) he learns that Doodle might not be “all there”, and begins to make plans to “kill him by smothering him with a pillow.”
Some would say Doodle’s brother was abusive to him. From the time when he first learned of Doodle’s condition and he “ignored the doctors long list of ‘don’ts’”, to at the end when he leaves Doodle alone in the rain the day he died. At the beginning of the story, Doodle’s brother shows him the mahogany coffin in which he was to be buried in as a baby. He threatens to “leave him up there alone” if he didn’t touch it. Another example of abuse is when he was teaching Doodle to walk. Some would say that that was a good deed. And I agree. But a person can only be pushed so hard. Doodle may have figured out that his brother wasn’t going to accept him. Several times when Doodle wanted to stop, the brother merely had to “paint a picture of us as old men and me still pushing him around in that go kart” and Doodle would keep trying.
Doodles brother didn’t kill him on purpose, but he was responsible for it. He was “a...