The Scarlet Ibis Death Analysis

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In James Hurst’s short story “The Scarlet Ibis,” the narrator’s remorseful attitude towards Doodle’s death is illustrated through the utilization of foreshadowing and flashback. This is made evident through the passing of the scarlet ibis and the narrator’s own prideful behavior and faith in his infallibility. The scarlet ibis that symbolizes Doodle with its death is incorporated into the foreseeable outcome of the end of Doodle’s life, and the indication of the narrator’s future guilt is manifested through his reminiscence of cruelty he displayed towards Doodle in his past. The significance of the appearance of the bird is emphasized alongside specific characteristics to foreshadow Doodle’s own fate, followed by the narrator’s guilt.…show more content…
After Doodle buries the ibis, he is invited to dessert, yet denies this offer, announcing that “‘[he was] not hungry’” (562). As animals often forgo consuming food before death, this notion can be interpreted into a prediction that Doodle would soon die. The narrator’s Aunt Nicey is prompted to declare that “‘dead birds [are] bad luck, [especially] red dead birds’“(562). It foreshadows the narrator’s remorse by integrating Doodle’s death with the superstition of misfortune and the color red. In the following events, Doodle dies from exhaustion under a red nightshade bush containing poisonous berries, symbolizing death and forcing the narrator to regret the spite in him that led to his brother’s demise. The scarlet color of the bird contrasts with the shade of blood that is shown through the end of Doodle’s life. Hurst describes Doodle with “his head thrown far back, making his vermillion neck appear unusually long and slim” (564), which in comparison resembles the bird’s long neck and creates a similarity between Doodle and the ibis. To recapitulate, the parting of the scarlet ibis is used to portray an adversity that later reveals itself to be the death of the narrator’s
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