The scarlet ibis
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“The Scarlet Ibis”. By: James Hurst. Setting:. Time: 1912-1918 WWI Place: Southern U.S. P.D.: the beauty of “Old Woman Swamp”, the bleeding tree, the withering effects of fall, the storm. Plot:. Doodle’s birth and the discovery that he may not be “all there”.

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“The Scarlet Ibis”

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The scarlet ibis

“The Scarlet Ibis”

By: James Hurst


Setting

Setting:

  • Time: 1912-1918 WWI

  • Place: Southern U.S.

  • P.D.: the beauty of “Old Woman Swamp”, the bleeding tree, the withering effects of fall, the storm


The scarlet ibis

Plot:

  • Doodle’s birth and the discovery that he may not be “all there”.

  • Age three- Doodle begins to crawl, becomes “one of the family” and is renamed by Brother.

  • Age five- the narrator teaches Doodle to walk.

  • Summer of 1918- the narrator develops a plan to teach Doodle to do everything a boy his age is supposed to know how to do.

  • Same summer- the incident of the death of the scarlet ibis.

  • Because of over-exertion, Doodle dies.


Characterization

Doodle:

weak physically, but mentally alert

Real name – William Armstrong

Weak heart

Frightened of being alone

Good at lying

Beautiful inside

Courageous

Amusing

Intelligent

Strength of character

Loyal

Wants to please Brother

Brother

Narrator

Six years older than Doodle

Disappointed in his brother; wanted a playmate

Cruel to Doodle

Too much pride

After teaching Doodle to walk, he feels infallible

Wants Doodle to be like all other kids

Feels guilty when Doodle dies

Characterization:


Conflict and resolution

Conflict and Resolution:

Type: Man vs. Self (Brother vs. pride and cruelty)

Develop: Once Brother teaches Doodle to walk, he becomes so prideful, he pushes Doodle too far.

Resolution: Brother’s treatment of Doodle contributes to his death.


Conflict and resolution1

Conflict and Resolution:

Type: Man vs. AF (Brother and Doodle vs. the natural disabilities of Doodle)

Develop: Brother would like Doodle to be a typical little brother and pushes him too hard. Doodle only wants to please his brother.

Resolution: Despite the grand plan to make Doodle like everyone else, Brother fails and Doodle dies.


Theme

Theme:

  • We often hurt the ones we love – “There is within me a knot of cruelty born by the stream of love, much as our blood sometimes bears the seed of our destruction.”

  • The human need for companionship and love – “Brother, don’t leave me.”

  • Pride – “Pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death.”


Literary elements and techniques

Literary Elements and Techniques:

  • Point of View – first person participant (Brother)

  • Foreshadowing – the first paragraph (images of death), the coffin, Doodle’s statements to Brother about not hurting or leaving him, the death of the scarlet ibis.

  • Symbol – the scarlet ibis represents Doodle’s spirit (both are tired, sick, crippled by the storm [physical weakness], delicate, struggled until death, beautiful, rare and those who are different are ultimately destroyed by society. Doodle resembled the ibis in position and color when he died.


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