What are the similarities between the bird and Doodle in "The Scarlet Ibis"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In James Hurst's poignant story of two brothers who compete against time, there are similarities between Doodle and the scarlet ibis.

The brother is six years old when Doodle is born in a caul, an amniotic membrane that encloses his tiny body. It is a membrane not unlike the transparent protein membranes of a bird's egg from which the ibis emerges. Later in the narrative, when the scarlet ibis lands in the bleeding tree, he perches in a precarious position, trying to flutter his wings in an uncoordinated manner. Suddenly, he becomes unable to hold himself up, and the bird falls to the ground. In death, its legs are crossed and its thin feet curved.

After rowing their boat ashore against the tide, Doodle is unable to run as fast as his angry and disappointed brother who hurries ahead in a storm. Although he tries to keep up with his brother, much like the poor bird, Doodle collapses, with his knees drawn up to hold his head. When the angry brother calms himself and turns back for Doodle, he finds his brother in a similar position as the collapsed bird, and he knows Doodle is dead: 

He had been bleeding from the mouth, and his neck and the front of his shirt were stained with a brilliant red.

The brother screams against the noise of the storm, throwing himself to the ground above Doodle. After lying there and crying for a long time, he gathers his brother in his arms.

I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain.

Both Doodle and the scarlet ibis are too delicate for worldly storms.

gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The bird and Doodie are both different.
They are both rare.
They are both out of place, and fighting environments that are hostile to them.
They both die.
Both are red (the bird is red; Doodie bleeds).
Doodie "floats" above the expectations of others as the bird flies over head.

brendawm eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Doodle and the Scarlet Ibis are similar in that both are rare and fragile beings.  Beautiful in their own way, yet oddly different and unusual.  The Ibis is red and in the end Doodle is left in a twisted pose similar to the Ibis and he, too, is red with blood.

kandi125 | Student

The similarities between the bird and Doodle in "The Scarlet Ibis":

1. They are out of place. Both of them find themselves in environments which they are not adapted to live in. The bird is lost; Doodle's backyard is not the bird's typical habitat. Doodle, however, does not seem to belong in the world around him because he is mentally and physically impaired.

2. They are small. The bird and Doodle are fragile and small in size.

"His little legs, bent sharply at the knees, had never before seemed so fragile, so thin.” -- sited form weebly's quotes

3. They had trouble with movement. The bird had problems with flying while Doodle had trouble with walking.

4. They die on the same day and died in a similar manner. Both died in the wild under a tree. Doodle looked crippled similar to the bird in death, his neck was twisted and he bleed from the mouth. 

5. They shared the colour red. The bird's feathers were scarlet red and Doodle body was described by Hurst as red, meaning covered in blood.

“He had been bleeding from the mouth, and his neck and the front of his shirt were stained a brilliant red." -- sited form weebly's quotes