What are the effects of the sensory images used in the first few paragraphs of "The Scarlet Ibis"?

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clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hurst begins the story using more complex diction to distinguish between Brother, the adult remembering the past and Brother, the young boy who pushed, embarrassed, frightened, and loved his brother Doodle.

He uses a lot of color in the first two paragraphs so the reader can connect with the yard and house he is describing visually. He describes the "rotting brown magnolia petals", the weeds that "grew rank amid purple phlox", the "silvery dust" of the oriole's song, the "gleaming white" of the house, the "pale fence across the yard", the "green draped parlor".

Hurst uses sound so that the reader can more fully experience this place. He talks about the way birds sounded as a child and how they sound now that the tree is bigger and leafier, "now if an oriole sings in the elm, its song seems to die up in the leaves". The graveyard flowers speak, "softly the names of our dead".

He uses smell to add another layer to the memories and smell is a powerful tool for conjuring memories. The "iron-weeds grew rank", the graveyard's flowers smell, "drifted across the cotton field and through every room of our house".

Hurst adds a final layer of memory with the way things felt. He mentions how he will sometimes "sit in the cool" and remember.

amber-two | Student

he only wants doodle to walk because he is embaressed and selfish and only cares about him-self