Homework Help

What are some of the similes used in "The Scarlet Ibis"?

user profile pic

typrizza | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 25, 2010 at 7:20 AM via web

dislike 2 like

What are some of the similes used in "The Scarlet Ibis"?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 25, 2010 at 9:16 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Remember that a simile is a form of literary comparison where one object is compared to another object using the word "like" or "as". Normally the two objects are dissimilar - we would not normally think of associating or linking them, but the author normally makes a point or forces us to see the object they are describing in a new and surprising way because of the comparison.

Looking at "The Scarlet Ibis", therefore, there are some great examples of similes. To me, one of the most important in the text is the description of the dead Scarlet Ibis after it has just fallen from the tree:

Even death did not mar its grace, for it lay on the earth like a broken vase of red flowers, and we stood around it, awed by its exotic beauty.

Here the dead scarlet ibis is compared to a broken vase of red flowers. Note how this reflects both its fragile, broken state as a dead bird, but it also conveys its incredible beauty - it is compared to red flowers, even though they are in a broken vase.

What is key to realise, however, is how the mention of red links the scarlet ibis to Doodle. Remember the simile that is used to describe him at birth:

He seemed all head, with a tiny body which was red and shrivelled like an old man's.

Here of course the comparison is less than flattering, emphasising as it does the unnatural appearance of Doodle, but it serves to link the character of Doodle with the scarlet ibis - a comparison that becomes very important at the end of the novel.

So, there are two important similes for you from this excellent story. Have a go and looking back at it and finding some more now. Good luck!

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes