The Scarlet Ibis Questions and Answers
by James Hurst

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What are the types of symbolism in the story "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst?

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Julianne Hansen, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In addition to the well-explained examples the previous educator noted, I would like to add the following:

The storm:

At the end of the story, the narrator is frustrated with his brother, who he feels will never be like the other kids at school. As his anger toward Doodle intensifies, a storm builds in the background, forcing them to return to shore in their little skiff. When he tries to climb out, Doodle falls and smiles "ashamedly" at his older brother, who helps him up. The narrator notes, "He had failed and we both knew it."

As he reflects upon his brother's "failures," lightning builds in intensity. The narrator begins running, angry that his plans for his brother have "come to naught." Doodle screams his pleas for his brother not to abandon him. The narrator runs on, the rain stinging his face.

The storm symbolizes the narrator's cruelty and bitterness, which is to blame for Doodle's death. His swirling emotional storm is represented by the physical, natural storm which Doodle dies...

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carol-davis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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