What is a good commentary conclusion on "The Scarlet Ibis"?

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The ideas of love, responsibilty, childhood and guilt would all make good concluding subjects for a piece about the short story "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst. An extension theme would be to talk about how far adults can "play out" and "work through" these feelings from childhood in their own adult lives. Many people carry seemingly trivial concerns such as sibling rivalry throughout their lives and allow it to poison their lives right up until old age. A more positive idea would be to explore what is involved in self-forgiveness or self-understanding. Yes, the author may have pushed his little brother just that little bit too far, may have left his body in the rain - but the significant point to remember is that he was a child at the time not an adult. He need not have weighed up his actions using adult comparisons. Sometimes, like the Ibis itself, a creature's time is just up and it's no-ones's fault.

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I imagine it took many years for the narrator to understand his own part in the life and death of his brother, Doodle, in the James Hurst short story, "The Scarlet Ibis." As a child who was not expected to live a very long life, Doodle surpassed all expectations, and his older brother should receive most of the credit. The brother pushed Doodle beyond all expectations, and through his efforts Doodle was able to enjoy some of the things a normal boy should--playing, swimming, climbing and dreaming. The narrator gave Doodle these attributes before the boy's heart gave out. That the older brother was present and first to discover the body of the blood-soaked little boy must have left him scarred and troubled. In his final moments of life, the older brother had left Doodle behind to die alone in the rain--a terrible thing to acknowledge for one so young. But as the years went by, the narrator must have come to understand that his action was a youthful mistake, and that Doodle could have never lived the life he led without his big brother close by.

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