“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
* 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
*“Scarlet Ibis” – only well-known story by Hurst
*first published in monthly magazine in 1960
*What is a Scarlet Ibis?
- wading bird known for its bright red color as it gets older
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.
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.
What is the grindstone a symbol for in the text?
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
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
1)Literary- “No crumbs left behind”- Hansel & Gretel
2)Historical- WWII references in France
3)Biblical- Resurrection, “Shall We Gather At the River” hymn