Love and Pride in Hursts The Scarlet Ibis

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Pride and Love are both driving elements in James Hurst’s story, “The Scarlet Ibis.” They direct the story, very similarly, as to how they direct human life. In Hurst’s story, he explains how pride is a wonderful thing, but also a horrible thing. He also explores the extraordinary emotion of love. Doodle’s brother greatly exemplifies both pride and love throughout the story. Through love, he is accepting and compassionate, but the narrator’s love for Doodle is hindered by pride and the cruelty that derives from it. It becomes obvious early on that the theme of “The Scarlet Ibis” is the strong conflict between love and pride. Hurst explores this theme when the narrator tries to kill his brother, when he cries after his family praises him, and when Doodle dies and the narrator is devastated. First, the theme of love verses pride is strongly demonstrated when the narrator plans to kill his baby brother, Doodle. The narrator is only slightly upset by the fact that his brother is an invalid, but when confronted with the information that Doodle might be “not all there” his pride is absolutely destroyed. Therefore, his pride wins over, and the narrator sets out to kill Doodle and eliminate his embarrassment. However, love wins out in the end when Doodle smiles at the narrator and the narrator decides not to kill Doodle. This incident is given much meaning when Hurst writes, “Pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death” (172). That quote is very powerful, as it not only explains the narrator’s ambitions to kill Doodle for his own pride, but also the entire scenario of Doodle becoming a regular person, followed by his death. Unfortunately, this occurrence is not the last time that pride attacks Doodle’sbrother.

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