It’s true what they say, no good deed goes unpunished. In the short story “The Scarlet Ibis”, the narrator teaches his younger brother Doodle, who is disabled, how to walk. Once he teaches him how to walk, he thinks he can teach him to do anything. Little does he know, that in the end little Doodle over exerts himself and passes away. Although the narrator didn’t mean to, he hurt the one he loved while trying to help him. In “The Scarlet Ibis”, the narrator hurts Doodle because of selfishness, the need to protect Doodle, and pride.
The narrator is selfish in the way that he originally wants to help Doodle so he isn’t known as the kid with the weird disabled brother. He is worried that kids at school will make fun of him because of Doodle. In order to keep the kids at school from making fun of him, he decides to teach Doodle how to walk. When the narrator is teaching him how to walk, he isn’t thinking of how it will benefit Doodle, but how it will benefit him. Selfishness is one way that people hurt the ones they love. Another way the narrator hurts Doodle was from his need to protect him.
Being Doodle’s older brother, the narrator feels the need to protect him. When an older sibling senses that a younger sibling is in trouble, they automatically try to aid them in any way they can. Also, older siblings try to influence their younger siblings not to make the same mistakes they made when they were younger. In the story, the narrator teaches Doodle to walk to protect him from the bullies at school. The extertion of walking ends up causing little Doodle to pass away. The narrator hurts Doodle by over-protecting him. He also let his pride hurt Doodle. In “The Scarlet Ibis”, the narrator lets his pride get the best of him. After he taught Doodle how to walk, he felt he could teach Doodle to do anything! The narrator wanted to teach Doodle how to run, climb, swim, and row. He set a deadline to learn all these activities before school started. When he realized that they might not reach their goal, the narrator makes Doodle work twice as hard. He believes that if they don’t meet their deadline, he will be a failure.
Selfishness, the need to protect, and pride are all reasons that the narrator hurts Doodle in “The Scarlet Ibis”. The narrator’s selfishness causes him to only think of himself and not about what is best for Doodle. The need to protect Doodle causes the narrator push Doodle to walk even though it is too much for Doodle. The narrator puts his pride before Doodle when he attempts to teach Doodle to do more and more, which ultimately leads to Doodle’s death. The narrator’s seemingly good deeds did get punished. He didn’t only hurt the brother he loved, he actually had a part in his death.