the scarlet ibis by james hurst n.
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“The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst. Background Information. James Hurst- author. * born in 1922- * grows up in Jacksonville North Carolina on a coastal farm * s erves in U.S. Army during WWI * Studies to be a chemical engineer *studies singing/acting at Julliard School in NYC

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Presentation Transcript
james hurst author
James Hurst- author

* born in 1922-

*grows up in Jacksonville North Carolina on a coastal farm

*serves in U.S. Army during WWI

* Studies to be a chemical engineer

*studies singing/acting at Julliard School in NYC

*goes to Italy to pursue a career in Opera; returns 3 yrs. later

*returns in 1951 to States & becomes a banker for 34 yrs.

*wrote plays & short stories in spare time

story information
Story Information

*“Scarlet Ibis” – only well-known story by Hurst

*first published in monthly magazine in 1960

  • story is an example of a personal narrative

*What is a Scarlet Ibis?

- wading bird known for its bright red color as it gets older

  • Over 20 species of the Ibis birds
  • inhabits tropical South America- Caribbean
  • national bird of Trinidad & Tobago (coat of arms)
  • sociable, caring personality
first paragraph analysis
First Paragraph Analysis

It was in the clove of seasons, summer was dead but autumn had not yet been born, that the ibis lit in the bleeding tree. The flower garden was stained with rotting brown magnolia petals and ironweeds grew rank amid the purple phlox. The five o’clocks by the chimney still marked time, but the oriole nest in the elm was untenanted and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle. The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted across the cotton field and through every room of our house, speaking softly the names of our dead.


What type of mood does the first paragraph create for the reader?

Underline the words in the text that support this mood.

second paragraph analysis
Second Paragraph Analysis

Its strange that all this is still so clear to me, now that summer has long since fled and time has had its way. A grindstone stands where the bleeding tree stood, just outside the kitchen door, and now if an oriole sings in the elm, its song seems to die up in the leaves, a silvery dust. The flower garden is prim, the house a gleaming white, and the pale fence across the yard stands straight and spruce. But sometimes (like right now), as I sit in the cool, green-draped parlor, the grindstone begins to turn, and time with all its changes is ground away- and I remember Doodle.

grindstone machine used to sharpen tools
Grindstone Machine- used to sharpen tools

What is the grindstone a symbol for in the text?

literary elements
Literary Elements


  • grindstone= symbolizes Brother’s memories

Ex. “sharpens or grinds” Brother’s memories of his past and “cuts” him at the same time

with the pain of Doodle’s death

2) Ibis= symbolizes Doodle

Ex. Not meant to live or be there, both are rare, uncoordinated, death similarities

literary elements1
Literary Elements

3) Peacock (in Doodle’s lie)= symbolizes Doodle

Ex. Doodle’s peacock- small bird with a 10 ft. tail

Doodle’s name (William Armstrong) is described as a small kite with a long tail

4) Old Woman Swamp= symbolizes a place of paradise for the boys

5) Red= symbolizes Doodle described a a baby, the Ibis, coffin, bleeding tree, Doodle’s embarrassment at failing & Brother embarrassed of Doodle, Doodle at death, etc.

6) War= symbolizes the World War taking place during 1918 & the “war” of cruelty that Brother fights with Doodle

literary elements2
Literary Elements


  • “red dead birds are bad luck”
  • coffin
literary elements3
Literary Elements
  • Allusions-

1)Literary- “No crumbs left behind”- Hansel & Gretel

2)Historical- WWII references in France

3)Biblical- Resurrection, “Shall We Gather At the River” hymn