Characterism And Symbolism In Hurst's The Scarlet Ibis

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“The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people” (Chadwick Boseman). In Hurst’s “The Scarlet Ibis,” the narrator chooses to use his power in a way that hurts his invalid brother, Doodle. While living in a time period where different is considered improper, the narrator cannot mentally handle the fact that Doodle is different from others. Being the older sibling, the narrator takes on the responsibility to help Doodle become ordinary. He teaches Doodle to walk, run, climb, and swim, because he is ashamed of having a brother with disabilities. As a result, the narrator serves as a villain by forcing his invalid brother, Doodle, past his limitations, …show more content…
The narrator is taught that being different is not acceptable, therefore it causes him to force his disabled brother to be normal. This enhances the plot by allowing the reader to ultimately see the risks of allowing differences to be unacceptable and being self centered. Also, the “bleeding tree” and the “graveyard flowers” enhance the plot by symbolizing death. The “bleeding tree” is a type of pine where white sap runs like blood when the tree is cut. The “graveyard flowers” are sweet smelling gardenias which are often planted in cemeteries because they rebloom every year. Additionally, the narrator lives on a cotton farm in the South during World War I. “Doodle and I followed Daddy out into the cotton field, where he stood, shoulders sagging, surveying the ruin. When his chin sank down onto his chest, we were frightened, and Doodle slipped his hand into mine. Suddenly Daddy straightened his shoulders, raised a giant knuckly fist, and with a voice that seemed to rumble out of the earth itself began cursing heaven, hell, the weather, and the Republican Party” (600). During World War I, Hitler places anyone who is different into concentration camps, including the disability. With this in mind, the narrator doesn’t want anyone to know Doodle is disabled because being different is unacceptable during this time. Therefore, the background in which the …show more content…
The narrator decides to take liability for Doodle, and teach him to be traditional; however, he teaches Doodle out of selfishness. The narrator is humiliated by having a disabled brother, so he tries everything in his power to force Doodle to conform to societal expectations. During World War I, being different is considered unacceptable. The narrator grows up in a time where everyone has to be the same, so he attempts to mold Doodle into an ideal boy that complies to the expectations of humanity. Therefore, the narrator only helps his brother because he’s embarrassed of his disabilities and doesn’t sincerely care about how Doodle

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