Essay title: Scarlet Ibis Essay
is not quite literal, as many moral individuals live long and happy lives.Consider, however, the notion that perhaps the innocence of youth crumbles, jaded, before a chance is truly given to mature.The loss of innocence and the youthful sins of pride, overconfidence, and infallibility manifest within the narrator, Brother, in James Hurst's short story "The Scarlet Ibis".
This develops into the central theme after the narrator experiences the tragic death of his handicapped brother because of his own doing.Brother laments, "For a long time, it seemed forever, I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain." (Hurst 6). The dispiriting imagery conjured by the words above convey a sense of loss of self as well as the loss of another.Hurst foreshadows this loss (intangibly sometimes) throughout the short story: "The last graveyard flowers were blooming..
." (Hurst 1)and "Such a name sounds good only on a tombstone." (Hurst 1)are two instances on the first page.New Criticism or Formalism suggests that one should pull from the story the "universal truths" "Through 'isolated' and 'objective reading'…" (AASU Writing Center 1) the underlying universal truth in "The Scarlet Ibis" is simply that pride will carefully tear one's world apart, rendering the proud emotionally wrought.
As well, the victim of pride can not be excluded, as Doodle's life and death is a literal transliteration of the saying because he was a physically handicapped child who's life ended as a result of being abandoned by his older brother.The narrator woefully proclaims, "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." (Hurst 3).Regrettably, James Hurst did not garner the prestige necessary to attract the attention of literary critics and scholars alike, his later works were still overshadowed by "The Scarlet Ibis" and there are no academic criticisms related to the story.However, the story remains popular in the classroom and many student/teacher critiques are available via the internet to be used as teaching material.
From the perspective of poisoning pride, Claire Robinson reminds the reader that "Brother, too, in spite of his obsession with having a sibling who will not limit him or hold him back in his activities, also puts Doodle into a box of sorts. He claims that "Renaming my brother was perhaps the kindest thing I ever did for him, because nobody expects much from someone called Doodle. Brother's act in renaming his brother seems anything but kind. It is as limiting and dismissive as the family's determination that Doodle will die soon after birth." (Robinson 1).Giving his younger brother a nickname seems like an affectionate welcoming, but Brother's intent was to lower the general expectations of Doodle by bestowing him with a slyly derogatory nickname.As another central theme to the story, Christianity is used to either subtly compare the handicapped.