Brother comments on how much things have changed since that summer. Even before introducing himself into the narrative, Brother introduces the recurring theme of nature reflecting the attitudes and dynamics of the characters in the short story. He has a large head and a tiny, shriveled body.
Plot[ edit ] The Narrator, who is not named but simply called "Brother", recounts the life of his younger brother, William Armstrong, nicknamed "Doodle".
Doodle is born a sickly child, who is not expected to live because of his birth defects. His family even has a small coffin made in the case of his death.
Doodle survives, but for most of his childhood, he is unable to move or respond to his environment. Brother even goes so far as planning to smother the baby with a pillow, thinking that having no brother was better than having a brother who wasn't truly there.
Luckily, Doodle smiles at Brother before he can do the deed, and, overjoyed that his brother is smart, Brother leaves him be. Doodle eventually learns to crawl, even though the doctor says the strain of even sitting up might kill him because of his weak heart.
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He crawls backwards, though, reminding the narrator of a doodlebug, leading him to nickname William, "Doodle". But Doodle is still very weak and feeble. Brother wanted someone who could run and jump and play with him, but resents having the weak and fragile Doodle instead.
The narrator even has to pull his brother around in a wooden go-cart his father built him, because Doodle can't walk. It is now that Brother decides to train Doodle to be a "normal human being".
He takes Doodle down to the swamp to teach him how to walk. Eventually, shortly before his sixth birthday, Doodle learns to walk with help from Brother.
Encouraged by this, Brother decides to teach Doodle how to run, climb vines, swim, row and even fight to prepare Doodle for school. However, almost a year after the plan was made, Doodle is far from accomplishing the goals by the nearing deadline.
One day, a big red bird appears in their garden, looking sick and tired. The boys' father identifies it as a scarlet ibis, a tropical bird that was blown off-course by a recent storm. When the bird dies, Doodle, pitying the creature, buries it, while the rest of the family looks on and laughs.
Afterwards, the boys go to the nearby Horsehead Landing to continue Doodle's "training". On their way back to the house, Brother has Doodle practice rowing.
A sudden rainstorm comes, and when they reach the riverbank, Doodle is tired and frightened. Brother, angry and frustrated that Doodle could not finish his training before school starts, runs ahead of Doodle, leaving the frightened boy behind.
When Brother does not see Doodle, he returns for him, his anger dissipated. To his horror, he finds Doodle, lifeless, lying on the ground with blood flowing out of his mouth, staining his throat and shirt a brilliant red.
The story ends with Brother crying and cradling Doodle's body. As this happens, Brother recalls how he killed Doodle with his selfish pride. Analysis[ edit ] The story has been described as "rich in symbolism".
The scarlet ibis is the main symbol in the story, as is the color red and the ibis in comparison to Doodle as fragile yet majestic. The storm is often compared to Doodle's brother because the brother pushed him too hard, much as the storm did with the scarlet ibis.
He attended Booker T.
InHurst abandoned his musical career and became a banker in New York for the next thirty-four years. He wrote plays and short stories in his spare time.The Scarlet Ibis study guide contains a biography of James Hurst, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
About The Scarlet Ibis The Scarlet Ibis Summary. "The Scarlet Ibis" is a short story written by novelist James Hurst.
It was first published in The Atlantic Monthly in July and won the "Atlantic First" award. The story has become a classic of American literature, and has been frequently republished in high school anthologies and other collections.
In the short story 'The Scarlet Ibis' by James Hurst, there are many examples of indirect characterization. In the following excerpt, speech and actions are being used to show two characters.
The Scarlet Ibis, a tale of two brothers, is a short story by James Hurst, in which the narrator recounts the memories of his late brother 'Doodle'. The story draws comparison between Doodle and a scarlet ibis that one day winds up at their home. been born, that the ibis lit in the bleeding tree.1 The flower garden was strained with rotting brown magnolia petals and ironweeds grew rank 2 amid the purple phlox.
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