What was one thing that Doodle could have done better for his brother?

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troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The one thing that Doodle had that his brother didn't was compassion.  He showed so much compassion for life in this story.  That was the one thing Brother never really had.  Everything he had Doodle work for was out of selfish reasons and his pride.  Doodle was able to show love for the Scarlet Ibis that had barely made it to their house from a far away storm.  Doodle gave it a burial, as if it was a member of the family.  He was truly broken up from the death of the exotic bird.  Brother never felt any of the sort.  Doodle even showed compassion for nature when they would go to Old Woman Swamp.  He would drag his hands through the long grass and tell Brother, "It's so pretty, pretty, pretty."  He never wanted to leave.  He mentioned moving there with his mom, dad and brother.  He had his own world of love and compassion that Brother never quite understood.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even though Brother helps Doodle do feats he was never expected to do, Brother's motivation for his help was really not to help Doodle, but to have a more "normal" brother. This is exemplified towards the end of the story when Doodle is getting old enough for school. Brother admits he wants people to see Doodle in a "normal" way. He doesn't want to be the boy with a "crippled" sibling. So Brother pushes Doodle beyond his limits. Eventually, when Doodle can no longer "keep up" with him, Brother abandons him and Doodle dies. If Brother had really accepted Doodle, with all of his limitations, Doodle probably would have survived longer and Brother would not have been left so guilt-stricken.