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The Scarlet Ibis
Transcript of The Scarlet Ibis
Honors English 1
October 15, 2012 Major Characters The narrator is Doodle's brother and since it is from his point of view, his appearance is never portrayed. Although his physical aspects aren't given, many of his character traits are. He is very full of pride and when he realizes he has a handicapped brother, he can't handle it. "When Doodle was five years old, i was embarrassed at having a brother that couldn't walk, so i set out to teach him." This quote from the story shows how the narrator is so full of dignity he doesn't want anything to bring him down, including his disabled brother. He is very full of himself, but he usually acts lovingly to Doodle. "But all of us must have something or someone to be proud of, and Doodle had become mine." He cared toward Doodle, and his own self esteem, which resulted in him helping Doodle to become more normal. the Narrator- William Armstrong (Doodle)- William Armstrong, nicknamed Doodle by his brother because of his similarities to a doodle bug, is the main focus in the story "The Scarlet Ibis." In the beginning, when he was first born "he seemed all head, with a tiny body which was red and shriveled like an old man's." He grew up but it never told what he looked like when he got older. Many times in the story, it displays that Doodle appreciates the little things in life. He cries over the beauty of Old Woman Swamp and is fascinated by the scarlet ibis that lands in the family's yard. In the end of the story his appearance is compared to the scarlet ibis. When he died his neck was bright red from blood and he was lifeless, just like the scarlet ibis after it died. Setting The setting for the "Scarlet Ibis" is in the year 1918 in Southern America. In the narrator's words "it was the clove of seasons, summer was dead but autumn had not been born, that the ibis lit in the bleeding tree." They lived on a small farm and the narrator and his brother would often spend time at Old Woman swamp. When Brother takes Doodle the swamp he says it was the only beauty he knew and illustrated it as "the sawtooth fern, down into the green dimness where the palmetto fronds whispered by the stream." 5. Doodle dies. 3. Doodle learns to walk. Plot of Events 4. The scarlet ibis falls into the family's yard 1. Doodle is born. 2. Brother is embarrassed of Doodle. When the narrator was six, his brother Doodle was born. Doodle was born handicapped and everyone thought he would never be able to do anything. Brother was very disappointed because he wanted a brother that he could play with and that is not what he got. When Doodle was five, the narrator realized how embarrassed of him he was. He had a lot of pride and he didn't want a brother that couldn't do anything. So he became determined to teach Doodle to be normal. The two boys realize how their persistent efforts finally paid off when Doodle learned to walk one day. This made them both believe they could do anything and maybe Doodle could learn to be normal. One day, as the family is eating lunch, a bright red bird flew into a tree in their yard. Their dad recognized it as a scarlet ibis and it fascinated Doodle. It tried to fly but in spite of it's efforts, it died. Doodle buried the bird with extra care and his emotions portrayed that the bird amazed him, but it's death made him sad. Later on the same day as the bird made a visit, the boys were floating down the creek in a small skiff when it started to storm. They tried to hurry home as it started to pour. The feeling of failure arose in brother and he started to run faster than Doodle could keep up. After a while he could no longer hear him so he turned around and found Doodle lying on the ground bleeding from the neck. This is when Doodle is compared to the scarlet ibis since they are now both lifeless and have a bright red neck. Point of View-
1st person Sample Passage "That winter we didn't make much progress, for I was in school and Doodle suffered from one bad cold after another. But when spring came, rich and warm, we raised our sights again. Success lay at the end of summer like a pot of gold, and our campaign got off to a good start." Conflict- Internal One of the conflicts in the story was an internal conflict that the narrator had with himself. He was embarrassed of his brother since he couldn't do everything normal kids could do. "When Doodle was five years old, I was embarrassed at having a brother of that age that couldn't walk, so I set out to teach him." This conflict was partially resolved after Doodle learned to walk and do other things, and the narrator doesn't tell us if he ever resolved the rest with himself but we can infer in the story that he probably regrets feeling this way toward his brother. Explanation of the Title: The title "the Scarlet Ibis" can have multiple meanings. It can be perceived as an obvious title since one of the events in the story is when a bird, specifically a scarlet ibis, falls into their yard, or you could also look farther into it and see that the author is comparing Doodle to the scarlet ibis since they have many similarities and so the author then uses the bird as a symbol to stand for Doodle. Symbolism The author of the story uses symbolism as his main literary device. He constantly compares Doodle to the scarlet ibis so it eventually turns into the bird being symbolic for Doodle. They are alike in many ways such as they are both out of place. The bird comes to North America when he was originally from South America. Doodle is also out of place in the world. He is handicapped and it would be hard for him to survive without help. They also have similar appearances. When Doodle dies, he is limp, lifeless, and his neck is bright red from blood. The bird is just alike, except he was already red. In the end of the story, the narrator says "I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain." he is referring to how Doodle is just like the Scarlet Ibis. Theme The theme of the story is how excessive pride is a terrible thing. Hubris can be considered as one of the seven deadly sins and relates to the story in a very sad way. The narrator is so arrogant that he doesn't want his brother's disabilities to get in the way of his pride. He is so vain that it drives him to teach his brother ways to be normal and eventually leads to him letting him die in the rain. Other Uses of Symbolism Using the bird as a symbol for Doodle is not the only use of symbolism in the story. The color red usually is associated with danger, fear, blood and death. The bird is bright red which can hint to the reader that nothing good can come later on in the story. Sources
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Hurst, James. "The Scarlet Ibis." Elements of Literature. Third Course. North Carolina ed. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2006. 343-54. Print.
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