Scarlet Ibis Theme

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Throughout “The Scarlet Ibis” a short story by James Hurst, the reader witnesses the heartbreaking tale of two brothers and their struggles throughout their young life. Each of the two has a different motivation to solve their related obstacle. “The Scarlet Ibis” displays through its plot the following themes: a determination to prove ones abilities, consequences of selfish pride, and the act of brotherly love. Doodle, a young disabled boy is heavily influenced by his older brother’s opinions despite his brother’s occasional cruelty. Doodle’s disabilities refrain him from running, walking, and being the playmate that Doodle’s brother has always hoped for. “I wanted more than anything else someone to race to Horsehead Landing, someone to …show more content…
This was a selfish form of pride and arrogance. He believed that he had performed Doodle’s recent miracle; he was the reason for Doodle’s accomplishments. “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.” (Hurst 619) After Doodle presented the family with his first succession of walking, the narrator felt guilt because of his selfish form of pride. Unfortunately after this small moment of guilt, he continued his arrogance during their next task. Every step Doodle took towards being more “normal” was because of his brother. “Once I had succeeded in teaching Doodle to walk, I began to believe in my own infallibility, and I prepared a terrific development program for him, unknown to Mama and Daddy, of course. I would teach him to run, to swim, to climb trees, and to fight.” (Hurst 622) He was incredibly egoistic and was at times cruel to Doodle. He believed that he was Doodle’s on chance to a normal life as other children Doodle’s age had. This form of selfish love and selfish pride drove him to train Doodle to his death. Although the narrator was cruel to Doodle, he did love him. If he had not truly loved Doodle, he would not have felt joy in Doodle’s smile or guilt after his death. This form of love was not as …show more content…
He saw beauty in the world from a young age, especially at “Old Woman Swamp.” “His eyes were round with wonder as he gazed about him, and his little hands began to stroke the rubber grass. Then he began to cry.“For heaven’s sake, what’s the matter?” I asked, annoyed.“It’s so pretty,” he said. “So pretty, pretty, pretty.” (Hurst 615) The narrator was cruel to Doodle, yet Doodle loved him because they were brothers. He did not understand that his brother was only teaching him to be normal as to not be judged by his friends; he genuinely believed that his brother was helping him so other children would not judge him. Doodle would not have cooperated with the training if it was not for his love for the narrator and the desire to make people happy. “He took out a piece of string from his pocket and, without touching the ibis, looped one end around its neck. Slowly, while singing softly “Shall We Gather at the River,” he carried the bird around to the front yard and dug a hole in the flower garden, next to the petunia bed.” (Hurst 624) He loved all creatures and buried the strange dead bird found in their backyard. That bird was the scarlet ibis in which he was compared to after his own death. He had a loving persona and seemed to love his brother, the narrator, more than anything. Between the two, there was a distinct sense brotherly love although each to a different extent. “The Scarlet Ibis” gave the reader a feeling of determination

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