What does "The Scarlet Ibis" symbolize? How does the bird actually symbolize Doodle?
As an exotic bird not indigenous to the setting of the story, the scarlet ibis symbolizes those who are lost and out of place, particularly those who are weak and fragile. When Brother sees Doodle's dead body, he notices the physical similarities between Doodle and the scarlet ibis: both of their necks were broken, and red blood reminiscent of the color scarlet is trickling out of Doodle's mouth. In this moment, the scarlet ibis becomes a symbol of death.
The scarlet ibis represents in more ways than one. The scarlet ibis is small and fragile like Doodle, but more importantly the scarlet ibis is out of place in their yard. The scarlet ibis is not indigenous to Doodle's neighborhood, it's as if the bird is lost. Doodle was out of place in his world too because he was different, small, fragile, mentally and physically impaired. When Doodle dies, his brother stands over his body crying and the thought occurs to him that Doodle looks a lot like the scarlet ibis did in death. His neck is twisted like the ibis and he has blood trickling from the corner of his mouth (the ibis was scarlet, a deep shade of red perhaps even dark like blood).
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