What is the external conflict of "the bird book" in the short story, "The Scarlet Ibis"?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    In the James Hurst short story, "The Scarlet Ibis," Doodle and his family discover the identity and the ultimate migratory limits of the "great big red bird" that has died in their yard from a book about birds that the family has on hand.

... we stood around it, awed by its exotic beauty.
    "It's dead," Mama said.
    "What is it?" Doodle repeated.
    "Go bring me the big bird book," said Daddy. 

The book identifies it as a scarlet ibis and it's range of migration--"from South America to Florida. A storm must have brought it here." (Although not specifically identified, the setting of the story is probably coastal North Carolina, where author James Hurst grew up.) As an external conflict device, the book simply serves as proof as to why the bird has appeared and then fallen from the tree. It also explains why none of the family has seen one before and perhaps magnifies Aunt Nicey's prediction that "Dead birds is bad luck... 'specially red, dead birds!" In any case, Doodle has discovered a sad kinship with the bird that should never have made it so far north.

amada | Student

The external conflict in this story is that doodle is weak and cant do many things. so since his brother is ashamed of him he makes doodle work extra hard untill he cant do anything any more and dies.

Read the study guide:
The Scarlet Ibis

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