What is the literal term or terms in "The Scarlet Ibis"? I need three of them; also figurative language.

Expert Answers
lizbv eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It seems like you need examples of how the author employs certain literary terms, or elements, in the story.  Included are examples of irony, symbolism, and foreshadowing.

Irony is in the baby's name, William Armstrong, which ironically is a big and 'strong' name for someone who appears so weak and fragile. The family decides to call the baby Doodle for short, a name which seems much more fitting.

Symbolism is in the form of the lost scarlet ibis, the bird which lands on their property and seems to be withering and dying away.  Like Doodle at birth, the bird is red in color and seems weak and fragile.

Foreshadowing is also apparent in the scarlet ibis. It gives in to its weakness and ends up dying, foreshadowing Doodle's untimely death later on in the story.

The first passages of the story are FILLED with figurative language!  "Summer was dead" is an example of a metaphor, and "the oriole nest in the elem was unenanted and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle"  is an example of a simile.  Both give off the sense of death in their imagery and foreshadow later events. This is further developed in the final sentence of the opening paragraph, which states, "The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted across the cotton field and through every room of our house, speaking softly the names of our dead".  This adds to the foreshadowing and the death imagery, and is also an example of personification in.