The Scarlet Ibis By James Hurst: Literary Analysis

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In “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, the narrator describes his past experiences with his younger brother Doodle, whom he prevents from being left behind in society. Initially, the narrator does not accept Doodle, who was born physically disabled, as his brother, but gradually, love and pride led him to teach Doodle how to stand, walk, and perform feats that normal people could do; however, it was this same love and pride that eventually twisted into a “knot of cruelty” and killed his brother. When the narrator coaches Doodle to walk, he demonstrates cruelty in his love and pride for his brother. The narrator disregards Doodle’s physical limits in an attempt to prevent his brother from being left behind in society. If this was not because of the narrator’s love for Doodle, he would have accepted his brother’s physical state and would not have bothered to teach Doodle to walk like the other kids. In addition to teaching his crippled brother how to walk, the narrator “prepares a terrific development plan for [Doodle] in which he teaches his brother how “to run, to swim, to climb trees, and to fight”; …show more content…

As the narrator explains it, “pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death”. Teaching Doodle how to walk was not only an act of love, but also an act of pride. “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”. The narrator’s pride starts evidently harming Doodle when Doodle eventually becomes sick from the grueling coaching offered by his brother. The narrator’s pride made him disregard his brother’s health as he “made him swim until he turned blue and row until he couldn’t lift an oar”. The narrator is no longer pursuing this training for the sake of his brother, but for selfish reasons, as his “pride wouldn’t let [him] admit

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