In "The Scarlet Ibis," what are the two types of figurative language in the sentence "I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death"?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the following quote from “The Scarlet Ibis” James Hurst uses both juxtaposition and metaphor.

I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death.

Juxtaposition is a device used to compare or contrast things or ideas. In this story, Hurst juxtaposes two characteristics of pride as being a wonderful yet terrible thing. Influenced by his own pride, the narrator, who is Doodle’s brother, pushes him to his physical limits, which results in great pride for the brother, but ultimately it contributes to Doodle's death. Again, the author uses juxtaposition talking about the two opposing ideas of life and death. Pride encouraged Doodle’s brother but it contributed to his ultimate demise. Also in the quote, Hurst uses a metaphor comparing pride to a seed that sprouts into two vines. This provides a familiar visual image for the reader, so that a difficult concept is more easily understood.

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The Scarlet Ibis

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