Not looking for a summary, just for details?  Does this story have any external conflicts? (man vs. man / man vs. nature, etc.) A climax or resolution? Any flashbacks/flashforwards? Any direct...

Not looking for a summary, just for details?


Does this story have any external conflicts? (man vs. man / man vs. nature, etc.)

A climax or resolution?

Any flashbacks/flashforwards?

Any direct characterization?

What point of view is it?

Any sort of irony?

Character types?

Mood / tone?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To answer a few of your questions about James Hurst's short story, "The Scarlet Ibis"...

  • POINT OF VIEW.  The story is written from the point of view of the unnamed older brother (the narrator).
  • FLASHBACK / FLASHFORWARD.  The narrator tells the story from some future time period, recalling the life of his dead little brother, Doodle.
  • MOOD / TONE.  Mostly sentimental, somewhat humorous, with some dark moments. The ending is (not unexpectedly) a sad one.
  • CLIMAX / RESOLUTION.  The younger brother, Doodle, after making great strides against physical and internal disabilities, seems to fail his brother late in the story. He dies during a rainstorm after being left behind by his brother. The older brother at last feels sympathy and remorse for Doodle after realizing he is dead.
  • IRONY.  Many examples. The scarlet ibis, which drops dead in Doodle's yard, foreshadows the boy's own death. Doodle, like the beautiful, crippled bird, dies alone and is found with blood pouring from his mouth.
  • CHARACTERIZATIONS.  Doodle's character is strongly drawn as a sickly little boy who overcomes great odds just to walk and run. His brother is portrayed as a selfish older sibling who encourages Doodle to excel in order to escape his own embarrassment at the hands of his friends.
  • CONFLICTS.  The conflict between the strong, older brother and his weak, younger brother is one. Another could be the idea that a strong spirit cannot always overcome a fatally flawed body.
missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'll give you a few of these pieces, and maybe another editor can finish out the information you need.

The entire story is a flashback. The narrator is Doodle's brother and he begins narrating the story as an older man. While wandering the grounds where he grew up, he has a flashback about his brother Doodle.

It is told from a first person point of view. The narrator is part of the story and tells it using the word 'I'.

A couple instances of direct characterization about the narrator include times when he confessed his own flaws calling himself mean and embarrassed.

There is inside me (and with sadness I have seen it in others) a knot of cruelty borne by the stream of love. And at times I was mean to Doodle.

I was embarrassed at having a brother of that age who couldn't walk, so I set out to teach him.

I would classifying the mood or tone as disappointing, depressing, or dark. The references to red and black colors, the references to death, and the plot being about a kid who was ultimately going to die builds a sad and melancoly tone hard to classify as anything else.

Ashley Lam | Student

its a flashback

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The Scarlet Ibis

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