The Scarlet Ibis--Symbolism and Theme Review

Essay by essentia_mortuusHigh School, 10th gradeA+, March 2004

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(NOTE: This essay is EXTREMELY opinionated and fairly brief. If you don't share the same views of the story, you obviously should NOT use this essay. Also, if there are any typos, I apologize. This was written as a thought stream, and I tried to catch as many typos as I could. I don't have spellcheck, by the way. Enjoy!)

The Scarlet Ibis

The main character is...who? Doodle or the narrator? Doodle. He changes a lot throughout the course of the story. At the beginning of the story, he basically seems to be the poster child for weakness. And yet, with the aid of his brother's constant urging, he grows to be partially normal by the near-end of the story. On the contrary, the pushing from his brother that had previously helped him ends up to be his downfall.

The title-"The Scarlet Ibis." Let's think symbolically here., danger, death, evil.

Doodle's brother mentions the "knot of cruelty borne by love, much as blood sometimes bears the seed of our destruction..." Blood. There's the scarlet again. This story is red. From Doodle's vermilion neck to the red leaves of the bleeding tree. Red, red, and more RED. When Doodle tries to crawl...what color does he turn? RED. What color is he at birth? That's right. RED. What color is his coffin? Mahogany, a shade of red. "Hope no longer hid in the dark palmetto thicket but perched like a cardinal in the lacy toothbrush tree, brilliantly visible." Cardinals are RED. "...beach locusts were singing in the myrtle trees." Myrtle trees...crepe myrtles...crepe myrtles are reddish. And the fact that it's a Scarlet Ibis (of South America, E. ruber, occasionally seen in the S United States) makes it even more significant. Scarlet Ibises are obviously rare, as is Doodle. Doodle is...