The Scarlet Ibis Questions and Answers
by James Hurst

The Scarlet Ibis book cover
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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.

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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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carmensheppard567 | Student

Which are effective research questions to best develop this topic?

legomasterjohn | Student

There is a great deal of symbolism associated with the color red and the scarlet ibis itself. The symbolism often suggests death of beauty, blood, and dying. Some symbolic representations of the color red are the scarlet ibis, the bleeding tree, the bush beneath which Doodle dies, and when Doodle is born his body is described as “red.” In this story the scarlet ibis is a symbol for the narrator’s brother. Both Doodle and the ibis die as a result of their inability to cope with the world. An ibis can live only in its natural habitat; when it finds itself far from home, it cannot survive. The ibis in the story has been forced from its natural surroundings, eventually finding its way to a tree outside the narrator’s home. The ibis dies, too weak to survive. Like the ibis, the narrator’s brother, Doodle, is special and too weak to survive. By using the ibis as a symbol, the author emphasizes Doodle’s uniqueness and shows how this quality is also what challenges him. Like the ibis, Doodle dies because he is not suited to his surroundings. The ibis as a symbol for Doodle reminds us that rare beauty is all too often fragile.

Yojana_Thapa | Student

The Scarlet Ibis symbolizes Doodle. The both are weak and fragile. They both are suffering and they both don't belong in the place they ended up in. The Scarlet Ibis was founded in the yard, which is a place that it doesn't belong in. Doodle doesn't deserve to have a brother like that. Doodle's disability doesn't fit the society. When Doodle dies he look just like the Scarlet Ibis.

parama9000 | Student

The Scarlet Ibis will ultimately wear out as it has found itself in a world unknown to it and die. The color red symbolizes the final state of Doodle.

ninaamie | Student

soo ... what is three important symbols  ??? what are they stand for ???

maxxie4 | Student

and they both have someone morn them after their death. doodle morns the scarlet ibis and the brother morns doodle.

whittany | Student

In "The Scarlet ibis" James Hurst includes one main symbol and many other supporting symbols. The main symbol in this story is the Scarlet Ibis, who represented Doodle. The Scarlet Ibis is the main symbol which represents Doodle because they both were described as exotic as if they were from an unfamiliar place. It's evident that the bird is indigenous to the tropics and does not belong where it is, and Doodle cannot live up to his brothers expectations to being a normal brother. Undoubtedly, the death of Doodle and the Scarlet Ibis have similarities.

pasor | Student

both die in same way


sk8ermann88 | Student

it is like doodle how becouse the bird came form a long way and so has doodle the bird dies and so does doodle

peonia | Student

The Scarlet Ibis represents Doodle because the Ibis is sent to Doodles house just to die and Doodle and his family don't know what the bird is doing there so they just leave it alone and Doodle says that he wants to bury the Ibis so him and Brother go to bury the Ibis but Brother is going to help Doodle to learn how to swim so he can be like the other boys when he goes to school so they wont pick on him so he take Doodle to the Swamp for lessons and a storm is coming and it's raining and Brother took off and left Doodle behind when the thundering stops Brother hears Doodle saying Brother!Brother! don't leave me! don't leave me! and from anger Brother runs faster so that he doesn't have to hear Doodle anymore so when Doodle is no longer heard Brother stops and waits for Doodle to catch up but Doodle didn't come and when he doesn't come Brother goes back to see what is going on he finds Doodle curled up Brother says okay Doodle we can go now but Doodle doesn't respond and he flips Doodle over and blood is coming out the side of his mouth and Brother notices that Doodle is dead so he sits there and holds him and cries

birdlover | Student

The scarlet ibis symbolizes death. The death of Doodle.

sami827 | Student

because they are both fragile

and the ibis dies at the end and

then doodle dies after to

tsweem | Student

Doodle and the bird have many things in common. They have the physical weaknesses such as thin legs. The bird has exhausted itself to death to get where it is. Doodle will soon exhaust himself to death by overexerting himself in the rainstorm. They both exist in a world in which they cannot survive. The bird is indigenous to the tropics and does not belong where he is, and Doodle cannot live up to his brother's standards of what a brother should be. The death of Doodle and the ibis have some similarities. They both die due partially to a storm. They both are red after death. The bird is already red, and Doodle bleeds profusely until his shirt is covered with blood. Both die under a red plant. For all these reasons, the ibis acts as a symbol for Doodle.