The Scarlet Ibis

431 Words2 Pages
James Hurst’s short story, “The Scarlet Ibis” evokes memories from Hurt’s childhood and the events leading to the death of his malformed, younger brother as a result of being pushed past his natural limit. Hurst expresses his ideas of the tragedy and miracles pride can emit by stating “that pride is a terrible, wonderful thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death.” (Hurst 347). The narrator’s constant shame of his deformed sibling causes him to act on selfish impulse; the result of these actions creates the contrast between phenomenon and tragedy. Pride holds the power to cloud judgment, awaken cruelty, and unlock selfishness but it also entails a type of influence that can create miracles. During one of the boys’ visits to Old Woman Swamp, the narrator shows Doodle the “mahogany box” that was made for Doodle to be buried in and tells him that “ ‘before [he helps him] down from the loft [Doodle is] going to have to touch it’ ” or “ ‘[He will] leave [him] by [himself]’ ”, demonstrating the narrator’s feeling of dominance over his crippled sibling. When the brothers’ present Doodle’s miraculous ability to walk, the family begins to cry and rejoice while the narrator “ [begins] to cry” and admits to himself that “ ‘pride whose slave [he] was, spoke to [him] louder than all their voices; and that Doodle walked only because [he] was ashamed of having a crippled brother’ ” which verifies the narrator’s real motives for teaching Doodle how to walk. (347). The closing scene of the story depicts the narrator “sheltering [his] fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of the rain”, finally realizing the consequences of what he had done and what he failed to do while his brother was alive. The narrator’s pride invokes disgrace not only upon Doodle, but himself even if though it had given him the reason to teach Doodle how to walk. The narrator’s actions leave him with an

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