The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst

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What are some examples of figurative language used in "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst?

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James Hurst's "The Scarlet Ibis" is filled with rich imagery and figurative language. One of the best similes found therein reads as follows:

They named him William Armstrong, which was like tying a big tail on a small kite.

A simile uses "like" or "as" to compare two unlike things in order to make a strong point. In the above passage, the little brother's full name is compared to a large kite tail. The kite itself could represent how small Doodle's body is. The kite could also represent Doodle's predictably short life and the fact that his name has a longer life-expectancy than he does. The imagery, simile, and implied message of this sentence is quite powerful.

The next example provides a look at an oxymoron and a metaphor as follows:

I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death.

First, two contrasting words describe the word "pride": wonderful and terrible. The juxtaposition of two opposing words often creates oxymorons that help the reader understand the internal conflict a character is experiencing. Pride is then compared to "a seed that bears two vines," which creates another comparison called a metaphor. Simply take out the preceding clause and the sentence creates a metaphor that would read as follows: "pride is a seed that bears two vines." 

Finally, there is an allusion to the tale of Hansel and Gretel:

It was too late to turn back, for we had both wandered too far into a net of expectations and had left no crumbs behind.

When an author refers to a story that readers are likely to recognize, an allusion is created that draws upon past experience. As a result, a meaningful connection between the two stories or characters deepens the understanding of how the story is read.

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The following are some examples of figurative language used in "The Scarlet Ibis":

Simile:

Simile involves the comparison of two things that are essentially different. In “The Scarlet Ibis”, in the first paragraph, the writer, James Hurst, uses this type of figurative language. He writes that:

…but the oriole nest in the elm was untenanted and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle.

The author is using simile to show that the empty oriole nest, although rustically made of twigs, paper, and such, is akin to (in its present state) an empty cradle. Simile here conveys the message of...

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