Brother, the narrator of the story, returns home to the farm, and as the story begins, is reminiscing about his brother, Doodle, and Doodle’s tragic death. Although we are not told Brother’s age at the time of the flashback, he is an older man reflecting on when he was younger and how his pride caused the downfall of Doodle. We know that the farm has changed as Brother sits in the parlor and looks out the window at the yard. The bleeding tree where the scarlet ibis perched is gone, the garden is clean and taken care of, and the once rickety fence stands straight in the yard. Like the grindstone that turns in the front yard, time has moved on as well.
In the flashback, Brother is six years old when Doodle is born. That is quite an age difference between the two brothers, and we find out that Brother pushes Doodle beyond his capabilities because he wants him to be “normal” and do the things he does like run, jump, and swim.
Because of the flashback structure of the story, we meet Brother as a young child and as an older man.