“Scarlet Ibis” Analysis

Literary Analysis The Scarlet Ibis is a very well – elaborated and splendid story written by James Hurst. The author has describes the events in perfect, precise detail with an outstanding form of writing which makes It even more astonishing.

Throughout the story, the Inner thoughts of the narrator will be slowly unravel, revealing the deep symbolism that was embed In and uncover the deep meaning behind It. It will make the readers cogitate about the symbols that foreshadowing the future events, also human pride and its dire consequences that will make us take a moment and reflect about it.

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A thing that makes this story one – of- a – kind is its characters. The narrator isn’t the mainstream type of brother, heroic character who excels at everything and defends their younger sibling that usually seen in fictional stories. He is a normal human being, with feelings and mistakes.

With pride and ego, with envy and hatred. It’s autumn at that time, the crimson leaves falling, painting the garden with various shades of red.

The story begins as Brother sees a grindstone and he remembers about his brother Doodle: 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.

A grindstone is “a round sharpening stone used for grinding or sharpening ferrous tools, usually make from sandstone.

” The narrator compares his mind to the ironstone. When he sees it, his memories are sharpened and came back to him. Everything seems clear, vivid, reliving the days back then when Doodle was alive. As he remembers it, Just like a grindstone that sharpens, his memories cut him, metaphorically. He has to forget “time with all its change” to live in the past with Doodle, to bury down his grief and guilt. Doodle grows up, but he cannot walk, Father builds him a go- cart so the narrator has to pull him around.

He’s considered “a burden In many ways”. HIS skin Is sensitive, so “he has to wear a big straw hat whenever he go out”. Brother and Doodle often go to Old Woman Swamp to play and pick up flowers. After that day Doodle and I often went down into Old Woman Swamp. I would gather wildflowers, wild violets, honeysuckle, yellow jasmine, snowflakes, and water lilies, and with wire grass we’d weave them into necklaces and crowns.

We’d bedeck ourselves with our handiwork and loll about thus beautified, beyond the touch of the everyday world.

Then when the slanted rays of the sun burned orange in the tops of the pines, we’d drop our Jewels into the stream ND watch them float away toward the sea. This symbolizes the life’s circle. The world is first beautiful and stunning in our innocent eyes. But as we grow up, we step Into the harsh and merciless world without realization.

Where the only thing that separates life from death Is a thin line, where anyone can be gone within seconds. The narrator feels ashamed for having a crippled brother. So he decided to teach Doodle how to walk. He paints the picture of two old men with long white beards, he [Doodle] try again. When Brother has successfully taught Doodle to walk, so everyone wanted to hug me [the narrator], and I began to cry.

” “They did not know that I did it for myself; that pride, whose slave I was, spoke to me louder than all their voices, and that Doodle walked only because I was ashamed of having a crippled brother. ” The narrator feels guilty because he teaches Doodle how to walk not because he cares about Doodle or he wants him to have a better life… It’s for his own.

His motivation is selfish. He says that “l [the narrator] did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death.

It’s a Saturday noon, a few days before school, a scarlet bird falls down the house’s yard. “At that moment the bird began to flutter …

And we stood around it, awed by its exotic beauty. ” The scarlet ibis is foreshadowing Doodle’s death. They both got caught in a storm, although for Doodle, his death’s reason is most likely because of his weak body and the fear that Brother has abandoned him. Many similarities are found between Doodle and the ibis, they’re both injured and scared. While Doodle “was both tired and frightened, and when he stepped from the skiff he collapsed onto the dud”, the ibis probably breaks its wing during the storm.


Red is the color of blood. It’s glorious and astonishing, yet terrifying at the same time. Doodle is found “beneath a red nightshade bush beside the road”, “bleeding from the mouth, and his neck and the front of his shirt were stained a brilliant red”, while the ibis “lay on the earth like a broken vase of red flowers”. “L [the narrator] began to weep, and the tear – blurred vision in red …

Sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain”. Brother recalls the ibis’s death, and he’s under the falling rain, protecting his “scarlet ibis” from the storm, lay there on the ground, crying hopelessly.

The narrator probably live on with the guilt, he believes that Doodle’s death is preventable. There lies deep meaning behind this story, so it’s a lot more than Just a sob story or a tear jerker. It’s about losing something important that you can never have it back, something that a few of us have learned in a hard way. James Hurst has sure done a wonderful Job in writing this masterpiece, he has left us a priceless piece of work that will leave us astonish for a moment, wondering about the true meanings those words.