Foreshadowing and Flashback in The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst

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Foreshadowing and Flashback in “The Scarlet Ibis” Regrets are one of the few factors that all people have in common. A study was taken asking hundreds of American citizens if they regretted something from their past. Although the majority decided upon failed romantic relationships as their most prominent regret, about sixteen percent stated his or her biggest regrets lied within family matters (Johnson). In James Hurst's short story, “The Scarlet Ibis,” Hurst uses foreshadowing and flashback to establish a reminiscent tone. As the main character and narrator of “The Scarlet Ibis” Brother reflects on his childhood, and he chooses to focus on the portion of his life that he shared with his younger brother, William Armstrong, whom he called …show more content…
This point of view gives the reader the advantage of hearing all the details from an adult perspective that does not hold any important facts back. He or she also has the added benefit of hearing an advanced vocabulary. If the narrator had told the story as he was a child at the age of roughly eight, his vocabulary would only be a handicap to the details of the story and might not do justice to Doodle's story. While traveling through the flashback, the reader can hear the regret in the decisions made by the narrator. For example, after he spent weeks trying to teach Doodle how to walk, and Doodle finally succeeded, he realized that although what he had done was a great deed he did it for selfish reasons. Hurst makes the narrator out to be a prideful, arrogant character throughout the story. One day before Doodle had reached independence and was able to walk, the narrator took Doodle to visit the casket made for him when he was born and informed him how everyone thought he would die. Telling Doodle this did not satisfy him though, he wanted Doodle to touch the casket. When Doodle refused, the narrator threatened to leave him there to die. The thought of abandonment terrified Doodle, and forced him to come face-to-face with his almost death.
Doodle remains at the complete other end of the spectrum from the narrator.

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