Symbolism in the Bleeding Tree

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  • Topic: Red, Vermilion, Green
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Latifa Abed Abed 1 Ms.Ashraf
English Honors
12/11/12
Symbolism of Red
In the short story, “The Scarlet Ibis,” by James Hurst the color red is symbolized in many ways. Examples of the color red in the story are Doodle’s mahogany coffin, the red Scarelet Ibis, the red nightshade bush, and Doodle’s long, slim vermillion neck.

The mahogany coffin a dark shade of red symbolizes death. The narrator’s parents build the mahogany coffin for Doodle because they thought that he wasn’t going to survive. “He seemed all head, with a tiny body which was red and shriveled like an old man’s,” (158). Later on when Doodle turns six, the narrator takes him to the loft barn where Doodle’s coffin is kept. His coffin was layered in Paris green. The narrator told Doodle that the coffin was for him but Doodle doesn’t believe him. The narrator also tells Doodle if he doesn’t touch the coffin, that he is going to leave him, Doodle is very frightened to touch it, but he doesn’t want his brother to leave him. When Doodle touches it an owl comes out of the coffin and fills both Doodle and his brother the narrator, with Paris green. The narrator and his parent’s keep the coffin because they know that Doodle is going to die soon, but if they throw out the coffin, it would show that Doodle isn’t going to die and that he might live after all.

The scarlet ibis symbolizes the color red and evil. This bird is found on the bleeding tree outside of the narrator’s and Doodle’s home. The scarlet ibis looks very ill which is very similar to Doodle. They both have a sickness and are brought from a very far place which makes them very similar to one and other. “Dead birds are bad luck, especially dead, red birds,” (166). Red birds are bad luck because they symbolize evil because things that are red usually...
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