Even the strongest, most determined people have their breaking point. In James Hurst’s short story, “The Scarlet Ibis” the narrator tries to lift his disabled brother, Doodle, to his impossible expectations. His hard work, dedication, and his tough ways benefit and damage his brother. The narrator’s pride makes selfish and cruel sometimes, but very determined.
“Pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death” (Hurst 2). This is how James Hurst describes pride in his heart-wrenching short story, “The Scarlet Ibis.” What speaks to me most about this quote is its profound truth. For the majority of people, pride is either a positive or negative thing, but what Hurst and I seem to agree about is the fact that pride can be both. It is an undeniable symptom of the human condition, a tool that can either create or destroy, and is responsible for the best and worst parts of history. It is the reason the world possesses beauty and the reason it possesses evil. Regardless of one’s personal perception of pride, I believe it is an important topic to explore through literature, current events, and through aspects of our own daily lives.
In The Scarlet Ibis, Brother and Doodles story is a perfect example as to why pride can be a destructive force. Doodle was pushed to the extreme by his brother. His brothers selfish pride took over his life and he just lost control, he couldn't handle it and his pride, and as a result an innocent life was lost, therefore Brother is guilty of Doodles death.
Disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person's movement, senses, or activities. "The Scarlet Ibis," a short story written by James Hurst, focuses on the relationship between two brothers: the narrator and his disabled brother, Doodle. Doodle is born when the narrator, Brother, is only six years old. Since the narrator is young and does not know how to cope with a situation like this, he plans to kill Doodle. The prideful narrator wants a brother he can play with and is disappointed and embarrassed that he will not be like a regular boy. Therefore, the theme of the story is too much pride can be a bad thing; the narrator lets his pride get the best of him and ends up killing Doodle. Three symbols that enrich the understanding of the story and relate to the theme are the Old Woman Swamp, the color red, and the scarlet ibis.
Adversity can cause the bad inside someone to come out. In “The Scarlet Ibis,” the narrator teaches his physically disabled brother to walk. “Once I succeeded in teaching Doodle I began to believe in my own infallibility, and I prepared a terrific development program for him, unknown to Mama and Daddy of course” (Scarlet Ibis, Hurst). After succeeding he keeps trying to get Doodle to be more like everyone else. if Doodle was able to do what everyone else could do then the narrator wouldn’t be ashamed
Winston Churchill once said, "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." In other words, Churchill stated that it is not the act of success that matters, it is the journey that made you successful that counts. In the book "The Scarlet Ibis" and the film Simon Birch they tell the story of a physically impaired boy who puts his disability aside to defy the odds and triumph before ultimately dying. Doodle and Simon were alike and different in various instances, the main themes were; their brother figure, their parents, and the major symbols in the story.
Blood may be thicker than water, but pride can be thicker than both blood and water. Pride can be life or death. Pride can be good or bad. In the story “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst the narrator’s pride ruled over his actions and decisions. The narrator’s pride lead to the death of his little brother, Doodle.
“Selfish people tend to only be good to themselves… then are surprised when they are alone”,(unknown).This is how Brother found himself when he abandoned Doodle during a storm. In The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst a child named William Armstrong (Doodle) is born with a medical condition who revokes him the ability to walk. But the selfishness, his Brother has been blinded by makes him want to teach his Brother to walk out of embarrassment “of having a crippled brother.” Therefore Brother is two faced he can be selfish or he can be altruistic to Doodle, which demonstrates how complex brotherly love can be.
“There are two kinds of pride both good and bad ‘good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect ’bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks conceit and arrogance." John C. Maxwell a contemporary author and inspirational speaker enlightens the reader with his profound view about pride this life coach inspires individuals to be aware of the two faces of pride both good and bad. Pride can be a good and bad thing to possess therefore, pride is an unattractive thing to possess as a human because you can hurt family and friends and hurt yourself, and hurt relationships close to you.
In “Flowers for Algernon” and “The Scarlet Ibis” pride has a big impact on Doodle’s brother and Rose. Rose and brother manipulated and mistreated Charlie and Doodle There are many examples of Charlie and Doodle being mistreated by Rose and Doodle brother in both of the stories.
“It's okay to lose your pride over someone you love. Don't lose someone you love over your pride.”(Unknown) Pride is a powerful thing. It can kill and raise up, it can keep you from admitting your wrong. Pride...is something to fear. This quote is directly connected with the story “The Scarlet Ibis”. Brother’s past now haunts him. Pride is a powerful thing and it's not always good.
As the protagonist unfolds his tale, he paints a picture of himself initially as a malevolent force, planning the smothering death of his crippled brother, to a bully, force-teaching Doodle to walk to satisfy his own ends, and finally a neglectful older brother whose acts lead to Doodle’s demise. It is the central event of his brother’s death that gives full meaning to the title, “The Scarlet Ibis.” In this short story by James Hurst, the author conveys the Narrator’s guilt over Doodle’s life and, more importantly, his death. Due to his hurtful actions, inflicted upon Doodle throughout his life, the Narrator feels deep shame for what he has caused. Through the elements of foreshadowing and dialogue, Hurst’s narration reveals the protagonist’s guilt, emphasizing his deep regret over his actions regarding his crippled brother.
“To be human is to be beautifully flawed.”(Eric Wilson). All humans are flawed. That is what makes them human. Flaws sometimes are hurtful, but they make the character interesting. In most stories, all developing characters have flaws. Many problems are caused by a character’s personal flaw. They can also be what draws the reader in, and it can be what connects the reader to the character. A certain fatal flaw is the inability to let go. In the stories, “Helen on Eighty-Sixth Street”, “The Cask of Amontillado”, and “The Scarlet Ibis” all of the characters are related because of their inability to let go.