Theme of Bias in “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst
Acceptance of an individual is important regardless of disabilities and other disadvantages. This idea is perfectly presented in James Hurst’s short story, “The Scarlet Ibis.” In the story, it is introduced that the narrator’s brother, Doodle, is born with an ailing condition, but unexpectedly survives. However, his luck goes just as far when misfortune intervenes as he is diagnosed with serious health problems and is disabled. In Doodle’s childhood, the narrator - embarrassed by his brother’s odd conditions - seeks to transform him into someone who can be recognized without his incapability. However, in the end, this behavior physically affects Doodle which lead to his demise. In his work, Hurst portrays the dangers of forcing an individual to conform to society’s standards.
In the “Scarlet Ibis,” the narrator cannot approve the fact that Doodle is not normal like everyone else. During Doodle’s toddler years, the boy feels disappointment because Doodle wasn’t capable of accomplishing brotherly conventions. He proves this when he states that he “wants more than anything else someone to race to Horsehead Landing, someone to box with, and someone to perch with in the top fork of the great pine” (595). This section shows how the boy longs for a brother who can play and interact with him like other people’s siblings. Also, he views Doodle as an inferior individual in which he cannot accept. Therefore, when the boy’s brother is named William Armstrong, the boy decides to rename him Doodle. He claims that “renaming my brother was perhaps the best thing I ever did for him, because nobody expects much from someone names Doodle” (596). In the boy’s opinion, Doodle could not live up to such a superior label; consequently, he gives his brother a name that reflects low standards and expectations. In addition, the boy considers Doodle to be inferior because he became a burden. The narrator loathes how he has to be...
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