What is the symbolism of the bad weather at the end of the story "The Scarlet Ibis"?

Expert Answers
beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The storm at the end of “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst portends impending disaster just as the first storm does earlier in the story. The Scarlet Ibis arrived in the yard as a result of being carried off course by a storm. It was weak, and out of its element which resulted in its death.

At the end of the story, the storm rolls as the boys are rowing in the creek. As the storm clouds gather, Brother has Doodle row them back to the Horsehead Landing, which taxes his strength and mind. He is frightened by the storm. After the death of the Scarlet Ibis, he seems to know what his own fate will be.

Black clouds began to gather in the southwest, and he kept watching them, trying to pull the oars a little faster. When we reached Horsehead Landing, lightning was playing across half the sky and thunder roared out, hiding even the sound of the sea. The sun disappeared and darkness descended, almost like night.

The symbolism is parallel to the first storm, only this time its victim is Doodle. He is so exhausted from rowing he is unable to keep up with Brother who runs ahead to get out of the rain. When Doodle can no longer continue running, he takes shelter under the red nightshade bush where he dies. The situational symbolism of the storms results in the death of both the Scarlet Ibis and Doodle. They were fragile creatures, out of their element, who were taken too soon.