What is the theme of most of the lies and what does this tell us about what is important to Doodle?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The lies that are told are told by Doodle are fantasies. Brother describes one of Doodle's favorite lies in these words. These words also develop the characteristics of Doodle's lies:

Now, when we roamed off together, resting often, we never turned back until our destination had been reached, and tohelp pass the time, we took up lying.

From the beginning Doodle was a terrible liar and he got me in the habit. Had anyone stopped to listen to us, we would have been sent off to Dix Hill. My lies were scary, involved, and usually pointless, but Doodle's were twice as crazy. People in his stories all had wings and flew wherever they wanted to go. His favorite lie was about a boy named Peter who had a pet peacock with a ten-foot tail. Peter wore a golden robe that glittered so brightly that when he walked through the sunflowers they turned away from the sun to face him. When Peter was ready to go to sleep, the peacock spread his magnificent tail, enfolding the boy gently like a closing go-to-sleep flower, burying him in the glorious iridescent, rustling vortex. Yes, I must admit it. Doodle could beat me lying.

These lies develop Doodle's possible dreams for his own life. If you take a look at the abilities Doodle kept for characters, the bold words above show the limitlessness he might have longed to possess himself. His story of the boy Peter may reflect the relationship between he and his brother. His brother gave him such attention and helped him see such beauty in the world. Peter also had a protector. This might be a manifestation of Doodle's brother. These lies contain a common theme: his wishes or dreams. To be whole, or to be perfected would complete Doodle.

This is difficult to discern because the story is told from the perspective of the brother, not Doodle. We never read Doodle's inner thoughts so we are left to our interpretation of what the brother tells us.

Read the study guide:
The Scarlet Ibis

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