How Did Doodle Die

So how exactly does Doodle die? Is it from shock?

Expert Answers
Rebecca Owens eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I hate to be contrary, but I disagree with both answers. If you take the ibis as a symbol for Doodle, which I believe you should based on thier similar appearance at death, then you must take into account that both the bird and the boy were struggling to survive in an environment that is unnatural and unsuitable for them. Doodle's stuggle is not only trying to cope with the physical demands set upon him by the narrator, but also the emotional demands. He loves his brother dearly and would do anything to please him. It is this love that helps him to walk and meet so many other challenges.

When his brother leaves him behind in the storm, he is devistated. He needs his brother's acceptance to help him belong in the world into which he was born--it is that acceptance that ties him to his "environment." When he thinks his brother has left him, he gives up. Though the story doesn't directly say how he dies, I think he was emotionally too weak to live without his brother's acceptance. While he does sustain some injuries during the storm, which are apparent since he was bleeding from the mouth, I think he could have recovered had his brother come for him. He dies of heart trouble, yes, but not a heart attack. He dies of a broken heart.

I don't really have a source to back up this opinion. It's just my gut reaction to the story. But, generally, my gut is pretty good at figuring things out.

Mrs. SO

clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't quite agree with the answer listed below. At the end of the story Doodle does exert himself to the breaking point rowing the skiff and trying to run home after his brother. The story never mentions a heart attack however. There is a storm that hits as the boys are headed home in the skiff and Doodle is frightened by the thunder and lightning. His brother, once again, leaves Doodle behind as he's running for home and lightning strikes a tree which falls over Doodle. When his brother realizes that Doodle is not behind him he goes back and finds the fallen tree and Doodle beneath it. He rolls Doodle over trying to wake him and see the scarlet blood on his face and realizes that Doodle will not be waking up. I would say that he did not die from a heart attack, but rather from being struck by the fallen tree.

leagye eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I do agree that Doodle's dies from a physical problem, I believe it isn't stated specifically because it is not really important. If it was, Hurst would have been careful to make it clear through the words of his narrator. The most important element to Doodle's death is his connection to the Scarlet Ibis. He died in a very similar way as the Ibis: far from home, overtaken by physical limitations in a harsh environment. He was physically very weak and lived longer than expected. Finally, however, he was blown far, far off course by the actions of his brother. The theme I stress is that of people accepting other people for exactly who and what they are, for not doing so could lead to serious consequences for all involved.

brendawm eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Scarlet Ibis", it is important to remember that Doodle is a fragile child who was never meant to live. He has pretty much lived up to this point to please his brother, but one of his greatest fears was being left behind by Brother. In the end, when he is left behind the sad and fragile little child dies of a heart attack. I ASSURE YOU THIS ANSWER IS CORRECT BASED ON THE INFORMATION AT THE LINK BELOW.  Brenda

tsweem | Student

From his brother's description, Doodle apparently dies from a broken neck, perhaps when he fell trying to catch up with his brother. Re-read the scene at the end when the narrator comes back to find Doodle dead.

ddambbang9042 | Student

He could have died from the tree because he was next to the tree when he died. It could have landed on Doodle. Since he is fragile, the tree could kill him very easily.

orange-jello | Student
well, o be honest with you,all the clues point tho the fact that doodle died of being tired. because, since he connects so much with the bird, im guessing he dies just like the bird. he dies of tierdness and of emotional distress, because he didnt belong and felt hopeless, so he died of tiredness and a broken heart.
ellebelle | Student

Doodle died because one of his lungs burst. When you are over stressed or over tired, too much pressure on your lung causes it to burst. In this case Doodle, was emotionally and physically tired, because of his brother abandoning him and doing physical activity that was too much for him. Poor Doodle was over all fatigued trying to live up to his brother's expectations. Also, his heart did not fail, because only lung bursting causes you to bleed from your mouth like the fallen ibis did.

unsure | Student

Yes, Doodle could have died from any of those ideas, but I don't think he did die from any of those things. He was running after his brother, in the begining of the story it said he was very weak. And so he was. He could have bursted a lung while running. But thats just my idea.

sadness | Student

Actually,he died of influenza.