What emotion does The Scarlet Ibis evoke in the minds of readers?

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jgeertz | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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"The Scarlet Ibis" is a short story written by James Hurst. In this story, an older brother recalls his experiences with his younger, disabled brother, nicknamed Doodle. He both loves Doodle and resents him. He teaches Doodle how to walk because he is ashamed to have a brother that cannot walk. He hopes to teach him everything so he can be "normal" and go to school but Doodle is like the scarlet ibis, beautiful and fragile, but decidedly different. By the end of the story, Big Brother's expectations have been too large and he fails not only his sweet brother, Doodle, but also himself.

Emotions evoked in the reader may include:

guilt since shame drove Big Brother to expect so much of Doodle;

sadness over the loss of the normal sibling relationship;

grief because he was unable to protect his brother;

hopelessness over his ultimate lack of acceptance of someone that was not outwardly perfect and whole.