What are some events in the rising action and falling action of "The Scarlet Ibis"?

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missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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RISING ACTION: These events occur after an inciting incident which introduces the problem of the story. They present additional complication to the problem.

Inciting Incident: Brother discovers that Doodle is an invalid.

1. Doodle is pronounced incapable of living past three months.

2. Doodle lives past that time.

3. Doodle is pronounced "all there" when he smiles. 

4. Doodle learns to crawl.

5. Doodle is carried around the yard in a wagon.

6. Doodle is introduced to his 3 month old coffin.

7. Doodle learns to walk.

8. The boys identify a scarlet ibis in a tree.

(Throughout the rising action, Brother seems to grow increasingly proud of what he is capable of producing in Doodle.

CLIMAX: It rains while the boys are outside and far from the house. Brother leaves Doodle stranded.

FALLING ACTION: These events after the climax lead to a resolution or solving of the original problem presented at the beginning of the story.

1. Brother leaves Doodle.

2. Brother waits for Doodle to catch up.

3. Brother goes back to look for Doodle and finds him sitting limply, bleeding.


shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Perhaps the most important event in the rising action is the sighting of the scarlet ibis. These birds are not typically found in the United States, and this one had apparently been blown off course and into the family's yard, where it died. This is where the writer sets up the symbolic structure of the story. 

In the falling action, the key event occurs when the narrator returns to his brother, Doodle, and finds him dead and bloody. 

These two events are closely related symbolically. Doodle, like the ibis, is out of place in his environment. The ibis is supposed to be hundreds of miles south, in South America. Doodle isn't even supposed to be in this world any longer, since he was expected to die in infancy. They are both unexpected occupants of their current time and place. 

Like the ibis, Doodle cannot physically handle the demands of his environment. He tries to chase his brother, but he was not made for such exertion. The storm that blew the ibis into their yard was too much for the bird to withstand. The blood that covers Doodle at the end of the story connects him directly to the scarlet ibis--they are both red. 

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