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The Scarlet Ibis Characterization
Transcript of The Scarlet Ibis Characterization
Utilized Characterization Terms
the process by which the personality of a fictitious character is revealed by the use of descriptive adjectives, phrases, or epithets.
the process by which the personality of a fictitious character is revealed through the character's speech, actions, appearance, etc.
The Scarlet Ibis is told by the narrator in first person as he looks back upon his childhood. Because the story is expressed in first person, it helps the reader understand the older brother's complicated emotions. The older brother "was embarrassed at having a brother of that age who couldn't walk, so [he] set out to teach him". The good deed was not out the kindness of his heart as it seemed. The narrator's pride was also behind his actions when he explained "that [he] did it for [himself]; that pride, whose slave [he] was, spoke to [him] louder than all other voices".
Although the older brother felt like what he did was selfish, he did in fact train Doodle to walk and helped him live a very full life. So when the narrator's pride caused him to be narcissistic, the brother's pride also gave Doodle a life.
Character Analysis—Aunt Nicey
Aunt Nicey delivered Doodle and had faith in him from the beginning. She had many superstitions about events and some were almost proved to be true. She believed that Doodle would live "because he was born in a caul and cauls were made from Jesus’ nightgown", the reason cannot be confirmed, but Doodle
live. She also stated that "caul babies should be treated with speciaì respect since they might turn out to be saints". There may not be any truth behind this, but there is no saying that it did not happen. Later, just before Doodle's death, Aunt Nicey told everyone how "dead birds [are] bad luck”, talking about the scarlet ibis. And the dead bird unfortunately did bring some bad luck. So the things that Aunt Nicey said might have seemed a little crazy at the time, but most of it turned out to be true.
Proud- "It was bad enough having an invalid brother, but having one who possibly was not all there was unbearable" (Hurst 156) -Indirect through thoughts
Selfish-"He was a burden in many ways" (Hurst 156)-Indirect through thoughts
Loving-"'Yes, yes' I cried and he cried too" (Hurst 158)-Indirect through spech
Determined-"'Well if you don't keep trying you'll never learn'"(Hurst 158) Indirect through speech
Sad-"I began to weep" (Hurst 163) Indirect through actions
Frustrated- "'Doodle don't you
to learn to walk?'" (Hurst 158) Indirect through speech
Angry- "'Then I'll leave you here by your self.'" (Hurst 157) Indirect through speech
The older brother was a dynamic and round character. In the beginning of the story the narrator goes as far as wanting to kill his "invalid" brother. However, by the end of the story the older brother realizes how much he really loves Doodle when he is crying by his dead body. He is given a full description mostly through indirect characterization of his thoughts and feelings.
: The older brother ended up "having to lug him wherever [he] went". Direct
: After the scarlet ibis died, Doodle "carried the bird around to the front yard and dug a hole in the flower garden, next to the petunia bed" to bury it. Indirect through actions
: Doodle does not believe at first that he would be able to walk and tells his brother “I just can't do it". Indirect through speech
: Doodle came up with fascinating stories about "people [that] all had wings and flew wherever they wanted to go". Direct
: Doodle's family was told by the doctor that "[Doodle] mustn’t get too excited, too
hot, too cold, or too tired and that he must always be treated gently". Direct
: Even though his brother did mean things like "sometimes accidentally turning him over", Doodle still wanted to be with him. Indirect through actions
: Despite the fact that Doodle was "invalid", he was loved by his whole family. They all showed it when Doodle walked for them and "Mama began to cry and ran over to him, hugging him and kissing
him. Daddy hugged him too, and Aunt Nicey, who was thanks-praying in the doorway." Indirect characterization through actions
Doodle was a dynamic and round character. Because it seemed that no one around him had hope for him, Doodle most likely believed that he would never be able to do anything. He even told his brother “I can’t walk” because "Mama, the doctor, everybody.” said so. After he begins conquering new challenges, he gains faith in himself. The reader can indirectly characterize Doodle through his actions and speech, making him a round character.
: Everyone "thought [Doodle] was going to die-
everybody except Aunt Nicey". She tried to be positive despite everyone's negativity.
Indirect through speech
: She believed in sayings like "dead birds [are] bad luck”.
Indirect through speech
: She mentioned how "cauls were made from
Jesus’ nightgown" and how Doodle "might turn out
to be [a] saint".
Indirect through speech
Aunt Nicey was a static and a flat character. She does not grow or change throughout the story at least in any way the reader can understand. She also was not given complete description other than that she could be seen indirectly as hopeful.
After Doodle "looked straight at [the older brother] and grinned", the narrator believed that Doodle "was all there". Besides Aunt Nicey, this made the brother the only person to have faith in Doodle. He was also the person that Doodle spent almost all of his time and experiences with. Once again the older brother helped Doodle to really live.
At the end it is debatable whether or not Doodle's death is the older brother's fault. The narrator definitely did not purposely make Doodle die, however he did indirectly cause it by leaving him behind in the storm. The older brother surely did love Doodle and showed it after finding him dead. He "threw [his] body to the earth above [Doodle's]. For a long long time, it seemed forever, [he] lay there crying, sheltering [his] fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain."
Doodle was expected to die from the beginning, however, he overcame everyone's doubts and life's obstacles. He lived past three months to when "Mama and Daddy decided they might as well name him". Doodle survived his brother's plans to kill him when Doodle smiled at him. He was able to move despite being told he would die because "with his weak heart the strain would probably kill him". Doodle even learned to walk with the help of his brother. All of these accomplishments are what gave Doodle a fulfilling life. He may have died at the young age of six, but that is six years more than anyone expected. It was not Doodle's story that was sad, but only the ending.