"The knowledge that Doodle's and my plans had come to naught was bitter, and that streak of cruelty within me awakened. I ran as fast as I could, leaving him far behind with a wall of rain dividing us." This quote really makes the theme of this short story stand out. There is a wall of rain that divides them, this shows that they don't go together. There is a problem with one of them which makes them part. In this story, it's the older brother. He can't accept the incapabilities of his younger handicapped brother. In this story there are a few different themes like: brotherhood, incapibility, betrayal, pride but the main one is acceptance.
At the beginning of the story, the bleeding tree is the symbol of the theme because it shelters the Scarlet Ibis, and at the beginning of the story the older brother shelters Doodle.
Doodle is protected by his brother because his brother believes that he is infallible and that he can make Doodle do anything. Even if he knows that Doodle is handicapped. But once Doodle fails, the symbol quickly changes. The symbol becomes war. A war is a huge fight, physically and emotionally. Men from all over the world fight for their country. They don't always believe in what they are fighting for but they know it means something to their country and so they must try to accomplish what their country wants. It's like Doodle and his older brother. Doodle fights for what his brother wants and men fight for what their country wants.
There are two climaxes in the story. The first one is the death of the scarlet Ibis. It is the first death in the story and it represents the impending death in other words Doodle's death.