In "The Scarlet Ibis," what does the relationship between the two brothers represent? Use evidence from the short story to support your response.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Different readers might have different ideas of what the relationship between Doodle and Brother symbolizes, so feel free to defend your own feelings. One thing that I think their relationship represents is pride. The theme of pride runs throughout this story, but it is focused on Brother's attitude toward Doodle....

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Different readers might have different ideas of what the relationship between Doodle and Brother symbolizes, so feel free to defend your own feelings. One thing that I think their relationship represents is pride. The theme of pride runs throughout this story, but it is focused on Brother's attitude toward Doodle. Brother is embarrassed by the fact that he has a little brother that can't run, jump, or do any of the things that Brother believes a little brother should do. Brother believes that he can get Doodle to do those things through hard work, practice, and perseverance. That all sounds great, but Brother's motivation isn't altruistic. He doesn't want Doodle to achieve these things for the good of Doodle. Brother wants a brother he can be proud of, and his own pride won't let him fail.

"What are you crying for?" asked Daddy, but I couldn't answer. They
did not know that I did it for myself, that pride, whose slave I was, spoke to me louder than all their voices, and that Doodle walked only because I was ashamed of having a crippled brother.

That pride is what ultimately will lead Brother to abandon Doodle in the storm, and readers will be forced to question whether or not Doodle may have survived if Brother had stayed back.

He had failed and we both knew it, so we started back home, racing the storm. We never spoke (What are the words that can solder cracked pride?), but I knew he was watching me, watching for a
sign of mercy.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team