How do Brother’s actions, thoughts, and motivations advance the theme of “The Scarlet Ibis”?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Scarlet Ibis", Brother is motivated to make his brother, Doodle, "normal" because he is embarrassed having a brother who is disabled.  Brother wants Doodle to be able to run, jump, swim, and climb a rope with him on the farm and at Old Woman Swamp.  Brother becomes obsessed with Doodle's physical inadequacies and first teaches Doodle to walk.  Brother starts to cry when Doodle shows his parents he can walk and admits that, "I did it for myself, that pride, whose slave I was . . . "  Brother is a slave to his embarrassment and pride and does not have Doodle's best interests in mind when he pushes him beyond his physical capabilities.  Brother also realizes that his pride is a mixture of two things, life and death when he compares his pride to a "seed that bears two vines."  In the end, Brother's pride kills Doodle when he leaves Doodle behind during a violent rain storm.  Like the weak and helpless scarlet ibis, Doodle is sick and worn out by Brother's unrealistic expectations.  As an older man looking back at the autumn of Doodle's death, Brother realizes how his own prideful ego led to the tragedy.