May 8, 2014
“The Scarlet Ibis”
Pride is one of two things, good and bad. In “The Scarlet Ibis”, by James Hurst, pride is the theme of the story. It takes place in the South during World War 1 at times of The Great Depression. The main character, the narrator, reminisces about when his younger brother, Doodle was alive. Throughout the story, symbolism is shown in every way.
Even though symbolism is shown throughout the story, the main symbol is the scarlet ibis itself. When everyone was eating lunch, Doodle saw the scarlet ibis in the tree. The family went outside to look at it, and it fell down the tree trying to fly away. The narrator says, “… it tumbled down, bumping through the limbs of the bleeding tree… It’s long, graceful neck jerked twice into an S then straightened put…” (p. 180). They said even in death it still had grace. The same happened with Doodle’s death. The narrator took him and Doodle to the swamp behind their house, Old Woman Swamp, to learn how to run. While there, he got mad at Doodle so he ran away from him. Doodle ran after him but only so far until he fell behind, and when Brother (the narrator) went back for him, Doodle was dead. The narrator says, “He lay very awkwardly with his head thrown far back, making his vermillion neck appear unusually long and slim” (p. 183). Doodle died the same way the scarlet ibis did.
“I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, but terrible thing, a seed that bear vines, life and death.” The narrator learned that with pride both good and bad things happen. When the narrator had pride in him, it had both negative and positive consequences. Brother used his pride to teach Doodle to walk. They made his success a surprise and everyone became happy. Even after the success with the walk Brother still wasn’t satisfied; it pumped his chest with more pride. Brother soon took him to Old Woman Swamp to teach him how to run. Doodle failed at running so Brother got upset and ran away...
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