What are three ways that the language from "The Scarlet Ibis" is different after the narrator finishes the first two paragraphs?

1 Answer | Add Yours

scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

1. The first two paragraphs possess more complex diction (word choice) than the following paragraphs.  The narrator begins by using words and phrases such as "untenanted" and "the clove of seasons."  The more elevated word choice of the initial paragraphs demonstrates that the narrator is a mature individual nostagically thinking back to childhood days.  If the reader simply looks at the first two sentences of the third paragraph, the difference between the word choice and sentence structure is apparent.  The narrator--at this point now narrating in childlike language--uses words and phrasing that a young boy/girl might use.  He writes,

"Doodle was just about the craziest brother a boy ever had. Of course, he wasn't a crazy crazy like Miss Leedie . . ."

In the third paragraph, the repetition of the word "crazy," the use of hyperbole in the first sentence, and the rambling nature of the second sentence all connect to a child's way of narrating.

2. The author uses a different tone in the first two paragraphs.  Hurst's use of negatively connotative words and phrases demonstrates the narrator's grief over and longing regarding the incident that he is about to relay.  Brother, the narrator, mentions a "bleeding tree," an empty nest which resembles a deserted cradle, and "graveyard flowers" which softly speak "the names of [his family's] dead."  In contrast, the third paragraph's tone shifts dramatically to a lighter, frank attitude.  Even though the narrator is telling about Doodle's difficult birth and infancy, he bluntly discusses those incidents by describing Doodle as "red and shriveled like an old man" and describes himself as "pretty smart at many things."

3. Finally, the language in Paragraphs 1 and 2 are heavily symbolic, while the following paragraphs are quite literal.  The narrator initially makes many bird/tree references which will play a part later in the story, but then shifts to a simple narration with childlike interruptions for the other paragraphs. The author employs this mix of figurative and literal language to connect to the story's symbolic moral ending.

We’ve answered 317,443 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question