Literary Criticism: The Scarlet Ibis By James Hurst

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Literary Criticism: “The Scarlet Ibis” “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it then the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone” (C.S. Lewis). Pride can be a dangerous thing if someone can not keep it under control. In “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, the narrator introduces his brother, Doodle, and his multiple health obstacles. Weak immediately from birth, Doodle was given a slim survival rate. After realizing Doodle would make it, the narrator was content on making Doodle as normal as possible. The narrator’s pride was a major impact on Doodle’s health, eventually leading him to his untimely…show more content…
The narrator longed for a brother to race, climb, and box with, but when he found out Doodle might not be able to do that, he planned his revenge: “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 464). Before the narrator could kill him, Doodle grins up at him, startling the narrator. Doodle was underdeveloped, any excess amount of strain on his heart could kill him. In the winter of his third year, he learned to crawl. Until Doodle could walk, the narrator had to push him around in a go kart. Having to bring Doodle everywhere he went, the narrator was “embarrassed at having a brother of that age who couldn’t walk, so I set out to teach him” (446). The narrator and Doodle set to work on his walking ability. On Doodle’s sixth birthday, the narrator wanted to surprise his family with Doodle’s walking. The narrator’s family 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” (469). The narrator kept pushing Doodle even though Doodle did not believe he could walk. The narrator did this because he could not deal with the fact of having a crippled brother. Doodle’s brother did not only want Doodle to walk, he wants Doodle to run, swim, and swing from vines

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