In "The Scarlet Ibis," do you think the narrator make any discovery at the story's end as he cradles his brother's body?

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

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Definitely. I think if we examine carefully the final paragraph and the way in which it is described, especially thinking about the symbol of the scarlet ibis and how it is applied to Doodle, we can certainly say that the narrator experiences something of an epiphany at the end of this short story that gives him sudden insight regarding his brother and how important he was to him, in addition to critically reflecting on his own relationship and attitude towards Doodle. Let us think how the story ends:

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, long time, it seemed forever, I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of the rain.

The way in which the symbol of the scarlet ibis is applied to Doodle draws attention to the parallels between Doodle and this fragile bird: in the story both struggle for survival, both die and both make a short appearance in the family's life. It is interesting that the brother finds himself "sheltering" Doodle from the "heresy" of the rain, suggesting that he is finally doing what he realises he should have done when Doodle was actually alive. He has realised that he pushed Doodle too hard and that his embarrassment at having a brother like Doodle was wrong. He has to now live with the consequences of that pride.

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