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Why does the narrator cry when everyone congratulates him for teaching Doodle how to walk?

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shay013 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 13, 2009 at 7:35 AM via web

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Why does the narrator cry when everyone congratulates him for teaching Doodle how to walk?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 13, 2009 at 8:20 AM (Answer #1)

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The narrator in James Hurst's short story "The Scarlet Ibis," is Doodle's brother. He has just completed his quest to teach Doodle how to walk, and after much hard work, the little brother has succeeded. Doodle is presented to his family one day at breakfast, and he surprises everyone (except the brother) by taking his first unassisted steps. First, his mother cries and both the mother and father run to hug Doodle. Then, they want to hug the narrator, and he begins to cry, too. The older brother is crying, not out of joy, but out of guilt, because the only reason he wants Doodle to walk is so the little boy will no longer embarrass him in front of his friends. 

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sha-mary | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 2, 2009 at 9:24 AM (Answer #2)

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Because the narrator feels guilty that his parents are so proud of him, when the only reason he helped Doodle in the first place was so that he was no longer embarrased of him.

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liabia20 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 28, 2009 at 12:30 PM (Answer #3)

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he knew that they were all praising him for the wrong reason...he did it only to benefit for himself. so he felt bad about it.

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