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The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst

            The short story, "The Scarlet Ibis," by James Hurst, emphasizes the relationship between Doodle, an invalid since birth, and his older brother. Due to Doodle's physical impediment, his life has been a clash of determination and physical impossibilities. One day, Doodle and Brother observe a fallen scarlet ibis in their backyard. After they extensively examine the carcass, Brother turns and heads back into the house, leaving Doodle alone with the bird, which he later buries. It is then apparent that the animal is unmistakably a metaphor and a presage to the story. Through interpretation, the ibis is not only a representation of Doodle's physical capabilities, but it is also a rendition of Doodle's purpose in the story. .
             Both Doodle and the scarlet ibis represent graceful, exotic creatures in a foreign environment. They share many physical features that set them apart. The resemblance of appearance is first broached when the ibis is seen. The ibis appears as, " a great big red bird" (491). The description parallels the condition in which Doodle is born as, "red and shriveled" (485). Doodle and the scarlet ibis's first interactions within the story are their first attributes. In their first moments in the story, they are both red, weak, and unusual. Because the author describes the ibis and Doodle in such alikeness, previously overlooked similarities are immediately noticeable. Also similar to the ibis, Doodle was fated to die. He was found dead after the storm "bleeding from the mouth. Limply, he fell backwards onto the earth" (493). Like the ibis that toppled from its perch on the treetop, Doodle fell down onto the ground, dead. The blood that comes forth from Doodle's lips stain his front like crimson plumage, again bringing the scarlet ibis and Doodle closer through context.
             The foreshadowing from the Ibis is the essential factor that leads to the result of Doodle's destiny.

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