What are some good questions to ask about "The Scarlet Ibis"?

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price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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I hope I am answering your question correctly.  As a teacher who loves "The Scarlet Ibis," here are some questions that I would ask my students if I really wanted them to understand the story.

  • What are the major themes of the story? (pride, death, loss, nature, never giving up)
  • What are some recurring motifs in the story, and why does Hurst include them in the story?  (colors like red and orange, storms, nature, seasons, animals, birds, flowers)  Most of these objects are fleeting and don't last long like Doodle.  Animals come and go on the farm and seasons change.  The red/orange colors represent the death, passion, and love of the ibis and Doodle. 
  • How are the scarlet ibis and Doodle similar?  (unique, tired, dying, red breast of ibis/blood on Doodle's chest, beautiful, kind, the positions their dead bodies are found, sacred/Doodle is described as a "saint".
  • How does pride play a part in the story?  Brother's insistence that Doodle be like everyone else eventually destroys Doodle.  Brother's frustration and pride leads to Doodle's downfall.
  • What is Hurst's motive or purpose in writing the story? What is his main message or lesson that we can learn from the story?  Hurst wants us to understand that everyone and everything in nature is precious and that we must accept others for who they are.   
  • Other questions could include the use of foreshadowing in the story, why Hurst chose an ibis (Egyptians thought the ibis was sacred and communicated with the Gods), and Hurst's use of figurative language.

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