The Scarlet Ibis Theme Of Selfishness

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The short story “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst elucidates the theme “selfish people aren’t the ones that suffer their selfishness: it's those around them, in which it harms”. The story is about a boy who received a brother after six years of being an only child, but because of an unfortunate disease, his brother wasn’t expected to live long. He unexpectedly lived far longer that anticipated, so his parents finally named him: William Armstrong. Because William wasn’t “all there”, his brother had plans to kill him with a pillow, but his plan was corrupted when his brother smiled at him, showing that he was “all there”. The narrator (who is also William’s big brother) renamed his brother Doodle. Embarrassed that he had to drag around his 5-year-old brother, who still…show more content…
One day Doodle went to Old Woman Swamp with his brother and a storm hit, so Doodle and his brother were going back home, when as a result of his heels being stepped on several times, his brother started running away from him, leaving Doodle alone in the storm. When his brother realized what an atrocious thing he had done to his helpless sibling, he went back to get Doodle, and just like the Scarlet Ibis they saw die in their tree hours earlier, Doodle was lying there under a tree… dead. The first example of the theme “selfish people aren't the ones that suffer their selfishness: it's those around them, in which it harms”, is when the narrator says “ Occasionally I too became discouraged because it didn't seem as if he were trying, and I would say, ‘Doodle, don't you want to learn to walk?’ He'd nod his head, and I'd say, ‘Well, if you don't keep trying, you'll never learn.’ Then I'd paint for him a picture of us as old men, white-haired, him with a long white beard and me still pulling him around in the go-cart. This never failed to make him try again,”
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