In "The Scarlet Ibis", how did Doodle and the bird die in the same way?

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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In James Hurst's short story "The Scarlet Ibis," the bird's death foreshadows Doodle's death, and there are many parallels in the way that each of them dies.

The Scarlet Ibis was an exotic bird that wasn't normally seen around the area in which Doodle's family lived. The bird appeared in the bleeding tree (named for the color of its sap) one day. The father surmised it must have been blown in by a storm. The fact that the bird is battered and dies in a storm is similar to Doodle's death, which occurs when he tries to keep up with his brother, who is trying to run home during a storm.

Another similarity between Doodle and the bird is their awkwardness. The bird dies with its legs at odd angles, and its neck twisted into an "s" shape. This mirrors Doodle's physical awkwardness. The line that reads "even death did not mar its grace" is reminiscent of the grace and beauty of Doodle's heart, as we see in his unquestioning love for his brother and other family members.

At that moment the bird began to flutter, but the wings were uncoordinated, and amid much flapping and a spray of flying feathers, it tumbled down, bumping through the limbs of the bleeding tree and landing at our feet with a thud. Its long, graceful neck jerked twice into an S, then straightened out, and the bird was still. A white veil came over the eyes and the long white beak unhinged. Its legs were crossed and its clawlike feet were delicately curved at rest. Even death did not mar its grace, for it lay on the earth like a broken vase of red flowers, and we stood around it, awed by its exotic beauty.

Another similarity between the deaths is that when Doodle dies, Brother finds him with a red blood stain down his chest. This is a reference to the red color of the exotic bird, and also calls to mind the bleeding tree in which the bird landed.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Doodle and the bird died from exhaustion. Doodle's father says the bird probably was carried by a storm and when the family sees the bird, it is bloodied and battered from its fight to stay alive in the storm. It is far away from home and the struggle has been too much for the bird to survive. Doodle dies when he trying not to be left behind by Brother, who is purposely going too fast for Doodle to keep up. The struggle to keep up with Brother is too much for Doodles' fragile heart and he dies. Thus, both Doodle and the bird were away from home, struggling against forces that were too strong for them when their bodies gave out.

desiree123 | Student

they were both incradiblly weak.....n died from loss of all there enrgy and exhaustion....

jaden0731 | Student

Both Doodle  and the bird died from exhaustion. Doodle's father says the bird probably was carried by a storm and when the family sees the bird, it is bloodied and battered from its fight to stay alive in the storm

viny | Student

both doodle and the bird died of trying to stay alive the bird was to far from home and tous died doodle was to far from his brother who insested to go fast and died