Imagine the deep pain of discovering that your new brother is disabled and can’t climb trees or run in the swamp with you. Although there are several themes in James Hurst’s short story “The Scarlet Ibis,” the most prominent theme is that life is fragile and to appreciate what you have even if it isn’t perfect. Hurst develops this theme through the experiences the narrator has with his brother Doodle and the way his relationship with him changes his experience of life. First of all, the narrator is embarrassed and frustrated that his brother Doodle is born disabled. He is so honest about his feelings he even admits that he imagines killing his brother if he finds out he is also mentally disabled. He says “but having (a brother) who possibly was not all there was unbearable, so began to make plans to kill him by smothering him with a pillow.” The narrator eventually discovers his brother is “all there” or mentally sound so he decides to try to teach him to walk and make him into the brother he wants him to be. He realizes that he is only teaching Doodle due to his own pride. He doesn’t want to have a brother with a disability. When his brother first walks he says, “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.” This connects to the theme of …show more content…
He simply works to try to make his brother different and better for prideful reasons. In the end of the story this pride comes to haunt the
In the short story “The Scarlet Ibis,” James Hurst elucidates the conflict between pride and compassion, and ultimately demonstrates that pride overcomes compassion. “The Scarlet Ibis” illustrates a tale of the narrator and his brother, Doodle, who had a physical disability and wasn’t expected to live after birth. Often, Brother resents the fact that he has a brother unable to do the same things he does; sometimes he loves and cares for his brother, taking Doodle everywhere with him, but other times he can only be mean, forcing Doodle to touch the coffin made for him. When Doodle turns five, Brother sets out to teach Doodle how to walk—even though the doctors said he wasn’t able to walk—and his family was joyous when they learned that he taught
In the short story “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, the protagonist is cruel to his brother, Doodle, because of his unexpected disability. For example, when the narrator and his brother go to the barn together, the narrator forced Doodle to touch his own coffin that was built for him, as everyone believed he was going to die. It is incomprehensible why the narrator chose to remind Doodle of his almost certain death, because as his brother, he should be happy that Doodle is alive considering what he has gone through. This seems as though the narrator almost desired that his brother took the wrong path instead, owing to the fact that Doodle is not the healthy, playful brother that he always wanted. In addition, the narrator renamed his brother
In the short story, “The Scarlet Ibis,” James Hurst, through the characterization of the narrator, demonstrates that it is crucial to meticulously think before performing actions that may negatively scar someone for the rest of their life. After the narrator taught Doodle how to walk and when they were going to demonstrate the great feat they had accomplished, the narrator felt a moment of realization and “...began to cry... 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” (9). Ironically, the narrator reflects on his actions after he performs them rather than doing it before. He not only does this
asked Daddy, but I couldn’t answer. 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 468) This again shows how Doodle's brother did a nice act by helping Doodle learn to walk. The reason behind it is that he is ashamed of his brother which is a bad motivation.
Doodle surmounts his struggle of not knowing how to walk by learning how to. Doodle is an adherent of his older brother because he wants to be like him. The narrator is very irate when he finds out his brother is different and “isn’t all there.”
The expectations of Doodle's family and society that he should be normal and physically capable led to his brother's insistence on teaching him how to walk, even if it meant pushing Doodle beyond what he could handle. Doodle's inability to walk is not something he believes in himself; rather, it is a limitation imposed on him. In this case, the pressure set to meet societal
Even though pride can't talk or have slaves using personification to show how he had followed to his pride over all else and was letting it overcome him, causing catastrophe in the near future. In the same fashion, the theme of not letting one's pride overcome them is also shown when Brother is starting to teach
In contrast to what his parents did, Doodle's brother totally disregarded him. He was so furious with Doodle that he even went as far as planning to kill him with a pillow. He expects his brother to do fun things with him instead of accepting the fact that he can’t due to his medical conditions. He was so embarrassed about having a brother who couldn’t walk that he tried to change it.
Though Doodle continued to practice and get back up, “Doodle told them it was I (Brother) who had taught him to walk” (468). Even if Doodle had done most of the work, he altruistically gave his brother the credit for his accomplishments. By doing so, this gave the trait of selflessness to Doodle. When summer began, Brother “made him swim until he turned blue and row until he couldn't lift an oar” (471). Though Doodle was in pain, he continued to do what he was told in order to please his brother.
Brother uses pride in the story by helping brother walk. He was so naive about it, he even admits it to himself but by then it’s too late. He even said in the story “I should have already admitted defeat, but my pride wouldn’t let me” (Hurst 471). His pride through the story is his biggest character trait and in some parts of the story, it defined him.
The narrator talks about how hard it is to have an invalid brother. To the point where it affects his pride and he feels constantly embarrassed and bitter that he decided to take it upon himself to make his brother more normal. “It was bad enough having an invalid brother, but having one who possibly was not all there was unbearable, so I began to make plans to kill him by smothering him with a pillow. ”(Hurst 39-41). This shows that because of his pride he was even thinking about killing his brother because he was different, and that he had different expectations of him than he should have.
Brother put lots of his time, effort, and care into Doodle even though "It's a miracle [he] didn't give up" (Hurst). His efforts showed the pride he had, or at least wanted to have in his younger sibling; even if it was rooted in selfishness. Pride is what motivated Brother to help him, though he wished it was his family which gave him the grit to always push Doodle to success. Brother
Sowmya Vithiyashankar Smith Lit/Writ (7) 11 September 2017 Pride Leads to a Destruction In the story “ The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, Hurst uses the indirect characterization of the narrator shown through his actions to show how one’s pride can cause one to do wrong. The narrator has a brother named Doodle. He is a five year old boy that has difficulty in walking. The narrator teaches Doodle how to walk because he is ashamed of him.