What is the author's purpose in including the 3 paragraphs that begin with the line, "That summer, the summer of 1918, was blighted" in "The Scarlet Ibis"?  

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In James Hurst's "The Scarlet Ibis," the narrative takes a turn in the paragraph which begins, "That winter we didn't make much progress..." Then, the next paragraph commences with the historic summer of 1918 in which World War I was heading to its end in November of that year. The "summer was blighted" on the homefront as Doodle and the narrator's father has his crops wiped out; further, the lands of France were blighted in battle at such sites as Amiens, soissons, Chateau-Thierry, and Belleau Wood.

For Doodle and the brother, this "clove of seasons" will also prove to be blighted as Doodle strains to "reach our pot of gold" and be defeated. But, much like the poor soldiers of France fighting a horrible trench war, they "kept on with a tired doggedness." Then, when the symbolic scarlet ibis suddenly appears, Hurst's foreshadowing is complete and as autumn comes to Old Woman Swamp and to Amiens and the other French locations, the wars of two different worlds come to tragic ends.


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