Imagery In The Scarlet Ibis

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In James Hurst’s “The Scarlet Ibis,” Hurst uses vivid imagery, strong symbolism, and well-written diction to raise awareness and sensitivity towards children with disabilities. In the short story “The Scarlet Ibis,” Brother teaches Doodle, who is disabled, to walk. At the beginning of the story, few people believe that Doodle will even survive. Doodle overcomes the challenge of walking, and he finds a Scarlet Ibis in a tree, but it later dies. At the end of the story, Brother and Doodle are running to get home in a storm, and Doodle sadly passes away and does not get home.

First, imagery in “The Scarlet Ibis” is used to make people mindful towards the adolescence that are challenged. After brother talks of how awful Doodle is, he states,
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He saw a bird and stated, “On the topmost branch a [Scarlet Ibis]bird the size of the chicken, with scarlet feathers and long legs, was perched precariously. Its wings hung down loosely, and as we watched, a feather dropped away and floated slowly down through the green leaves” (392). Hurst adds the symbol of the Scarlet Ibis to show similarities with Doodle and his character. The bird is very small and delicate looking according to Doodle. This goes to express how humanity should be extremely considerate due to the fragility and unawareness of the disabled. Near the middle of the story Brother tells readers, “One day I took him to the barn loft and showed him his casket… It was covered with a film of Paris green sprinkled to kill the rats, and the screech owls had built a nest inside of it” (387). One can assume that coffin and the Paris green(poison) is a representation of death, which is an appropriate symbol of the short story. Hurst uses this to help promote attention to adolescence by displaying that if one is not vigil, it can lead to awful things, such as trauma or even death. Overall, the use of symbols by Hurst leads one the have awareness of challenged
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