Symbolism In The Scarlet Ibis

954 Words4 Pages
Neelum Shah
Ms. Bailey
English 9 Period 2
9 November, 2016
Brother: The New Windex
Most times removing a stain from a glass window seems as simple as squirting some Windex and wiping it off. However, in the short story “The Scarlet Ibis,” by James Hurst, Brother, the protagonist, needs a lot more than a five dollar cleaner from the local Wal-Mart, for Doodle’s, his younger brother, disability, an unwanted blemish Brother desperately wants to erase. Instead of using the Windex to wipe the stain off, he decides simply to break the window. Feeling embarrassed, Brother dedicates his free time in training Doodle to walk. Brother introduces him to Old Woman Swamp, where the children share many joyful memories and learn a lot about each other,
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Growing up, many people begin to let go of things, just like what Doodle does, “Within a few months Doodle learned to walk well and his go-cart [finds way into] the barn loft beside his little mahogany coffin” (lines 5-6). The author portrays how Doodle begins to overcome his limitations, which his family doubted, thinking of the obstacles as insuperable. By putting the wagon and coffin out of sight, the author symbolizes how Brother’s dedication towards fixing Doodle and accomplishing the impossible feat of him walking limits him from truly seeing all that Doodle achieves. Later on in his reflection, Brother recalls his encounter with the scarlet ibis, just moments before Doodle’s death, “The bird [...] lay on the earth like a broken vase of red flowers, and [Brother’s family] stood around it, awed by [the bird’s] exotic beauty” (lines 303-305). The author gives a warning of Doodle’s death, signifying that if Brother saw Doodle’s beauty beforehand, then his guilt had a chance at prevention. Brother’s reflection on this time reveals how more value and indications memories hold afterwards than in the moment. Reflecting back on all of it Brother sees the meaningful
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