What are the narrator's motivations in the short story "The Scarlet Ibis"?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It seems that the narrator has several purposes in his retelling of the story. First, it is a reminiscence of the earlier times at his family home when Doodle was still alive. The big brother tells the story from a nostalgic point of view, remembering the good and bad times spent with his unusual little brother. Brother also seems to be trying to ease his own conscience about the way he treated Doodle in his final minutes and, though there is never a real admission of guilt, he seems to be unburdening himself by telling the story and recounting the death of his own "fallen scarlet ibis." During the story, Brother's desire to make Doodle a normal little brother is nearly completely driven by his own need for the acceptance of others. He is ashamed that Doodle is weak and both mentally and physically challenged, and though his efforts to strengthen Doodle appear to be kind-hearted and through a love for his brother, they are actually of a selfish sort.

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The Scarlet Ibis

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