The story opens with the narrator telling his readers that he was six years old when his brother, Doodle, was born.
We are told that Doodle was a disappointment from the very beginning because he was mentally and physically handicapped.
Brother is so disheartened by Doodle's inability to do anything that Brother plans to smother and kill Doodle.
Doodle smiles at Brother, and Brother decides that Doodle is not mentally handicapped.
Doodle learns to crawl.
Brother is forced to take Doodle with him everywhere, and Brother admits that it is a burden. Eventually, Brother takes Doodle to Old Woman Swamp, and Doodle is amazed at its beauty.
Brother shows Doodle the coffin ordered for him.
Brother teaches Doodle to walk.
Brother teaches Doodle to run.
Brother's pushing of Doodle's efforts begins to take a toll on Doodle, and he begins to get sick.
The two boys find a dying ibis.
The two boys head out to Horsehead Landing.
A storm quickly comes up, and the two boys race for home. Brother runs faster than Doodle and leaves him behind.
Feeling guilty, Brother goes back to find Doodle. Unfortunately, Brother discovers that Doodle has died in the storm.
1) Doodle is born mentally and physically disabled when his brother is 6.
2) Doodle smiles at his brother who, although he is still ashamed at having a disabled brother, understands that Doodle is "all there" and worth keeping.
3) When Doodle is 2, his father builds him a go-cart to get around in. Brother is convinced to take Doodle everywhere with him. They go to the Old Woman Swamp, and Doodle cries at the beauty of it.
4) Brother shows Doodle the coffin ordered for him and threatens to leave him there.
5) When Doodle is 5, Brother decides to teach Doodle to walk. He does, and the family embraces both boys. Then, Brother teaches Doodle to run.
6) Doodle begins to get tired out from all the action, but Brother ignores his declining health.
7) Doodle finds the scarlet ibis, who dies.
8) The boys go out to the swamp and a storm blows in. Brother hurries towards home, leaving Doodle behind, who is too tired to go fast.
9) Brother goes back for Doodle, who is laying dead in the field in the same position as the dead scarlet ibis.
10) Brother "comes of age" - he understands the beauty of Doodle's life and his own immaturity and selfishness.
Doodle is born mentally and physically disabled, he finds the scarlet ibis that dies, and he has difficulties walking at the age of 5.