I am looking for 4 more examples of death imagery in "The Scarlet Ibis" with textual evidence in addition to: "Summer was dead, but autumn had not yet been born when the ibis came to the bleeding...

I am looking for 4 more examples of death imagery in "The Scarlet Ibis" with textual evidence in addition to:

"Summer was dead, but autumn had not yet been born when the ibis came to the bleeding tree." Can you help?

Asked on by yellek

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In the opening paragraph, Brother (the narrator) is recalling the landscape around his house during the time just before the ibis arrived. He notes the "graveyard flowers" whispering names of the dead: 

The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted across the cotton field and through every room of our house, speaking softly the names of our dead. 

The father built a tiny coffin when Doodle was just three months old. The narrator notes, early in the story, that, "Everybody thought he was going to die." The narrator, the brother, notes that his parents named Doodle "William Armstrong" because it would look good on a tombstone. The coffin and tombstone are clearly symbols of death. 

The ibis appears in a bleeding tree. A "bleeding tree" literally means a tree oozing sap. But the symbolism between bleeding and death is clear. Some critics also suggest that this is an allusion to Christ bleeding on the cross. 

The ibis is like Doodle, a being out of place; not able to adapt to its surroundings. The ibis's death foreshadows Doodle's death. The brilliant scarlet color of the ibis symbolizes the blood that Brother will later see on Doodle's mouth and shirt. Brother clearly associates Doodle with the ibis in the final sentence: 

I began to weep, and the tear-blurred vision in red before me looked very familiar. "Doodle!" I screamed above the pounding storm and threw my body to the earth above his. For a long time, it seemed forever, I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain. 

 

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