In the story "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst, how is the description of the weather used as a tool to foreshadow what is to come for Doodle? (Page 603, "after we drifted...")

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the scene shortly before the boys leave the house, the description of the weather on page 603 mimics that of the father's reference to the storm in which the scarlet ibis must have been caught.

After Doodle buries the dead scarlet ibis, he and the brother finish eating; then, they hasten to Horsehead Landing and a rowing lesson for Doodle. There, a foreboding storm arises that acts as foreshadowing:

Landing, lightning was playing across half the sky and thunder roared out, hiding even the sound of the sea. The sun disappeared and darkness descended, almost like night.

Like the scarlet ibis, Doodle is exhausted and the storm becomes too much for him to combat in his fatigue from rowing. As brother and he make their way, trying to race ahead of the worst of the storm, the weakened Doodle, like the scarlet ibis, is not able to stand up against the battering weather. He cries out to his brother to help him, but the angered Brother hurries ahead of him even more. When Doodle does not catch up, the brother goes back to find him. Doodle lies dead, his mouth has bled and his neck and shirt front are stained. Brother describes him as in the same posture of the dead bird,

He lay very awkwardly, with his head thrown back, making his vermilion neck appear unusually long and slim. His little legs, bent sharply at the knees, had never before seemed so fragile, so thin.

Guilt-ridden for his selfishness, the brother calls Doodle "my fallen scarlet ibis" that he shelters from "the heresy of the rain."

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