A Theme Of The Importance Of Being Nice To Your Loved Ones In The Scarlet Ibis

This story shows that all brothers are equal, no matter how handicapped they may be. The story “The Scarlet Ibis”, by James Hurst, was published in 1960. It is about a boy with a severe medical condition. He overcomes many of his obstacles only to have his older brother, who is well-meaning and self-absorbed, run him to his death. James Hurst uses symbolism foreshadowing and symbolism in “The Scarlet Ibis”, a short story by Hurst. Hurst tries to encourage the reader not to forget their loved ones.

Hurst uses the power of foreshadowing to get his point across. Hurst accomplishes this by foreshadowing Doodle’s demise with the death of a scarlet Ibis in their yard. Doodle just witnessed a scarlet-ibis die in his yard. He tends to it until he decides to burrow it. Aunt Nicey appears from the kitchen, and then she says, “Deadbirds can be bad luck.” “Specially Red Dead Birds!” This is subtle foreshadowing of what happens at the end, when Doodle dies in a storm under a tree. Doodle died from the exact same death cause as Doodle when he found the bird. We are now back at our theme with this quote. Doodle knows how mean Doodle has been and admits that he is sorry. We now have our next quote. This is a subtle hint at what was to come. Brother describes Doodle’s tragic death during a storm. Brother explains that Doodle lay in a strange position, his head being thrown forward, which made his vermilion neck appear very long and thin. His tiny legs, bent at their knees, appeared so fragile and thin that they were almost impossible to move. This was what Aunt Nicey had foreshadowed. This is what was being foreshadowed in the first quote from Aunt Nicey. Doodle’s death is symbolized by Hurst as a scarlet Ibis. Doodle and his family witnessed a bird fly into their yard very wobbly, then fall and then finally die. Brother says, “A scarlet-ibis!” It is amazing how many miles the bird had traveled to reach this point, and it was right in front of us, beneath the bleeding trees. Doodle’s passing is represented by the bird. Both the bird and Doodle are victims of the same death cause. The author then wrote that Doodle died and that he began to weep. I screamed “Doodle!” and threw all my weight to the ground. It felt like it took forever for me to cry, hiding my fallen scarlet ibis under the rain. Doodle and his family had just witnessed a bird go to its death in the exact same way. This symbolises Doodle’s passing as if it was the scarlet ibis. Hurst further expands the theme by using symbolism. Be kind to your loved ones. They will not be there for you. James Hurst uses subtle pre-sighting, Aunt Nicey’s quotation and the symbolism of birds to illustrate the whole theme. To wrap up this essay, James Hurst uses this theme to give us a positive moral after we have read the story. Everything above explains why.


  • zakhart

    Zak Hart is an educational blogger and professor who has been writing about education for over 10 years. He has written for various publications, including The Huffington Post and Edutopia, and has been a guest lecturer at various universities. Zak is the founder and director of the Edutopia Academy, an online education program that provides teachers with resources and lessons to help them improve their teaching skills.

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