Why might the author choose to begin with so many images of death in "The Scarlet Ibis"?

In "The Scarlet Ibis," the author chooses to start with so many images of death because he wants to foreshadow the eventual death of Doodle. The dead things of nature at the start of the story also foreshadow Doodle's love of nature.

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At the beginning of James Hurst's short story "The Scarlet Ibis," we are treated to some images of death drawn from nature. We are told in the very first line of the story that "summer is dead" when the ibis came to the "bleeding tree."

Later on in the story, the boy William "Doodle" Armstrong will drop down dead after he tries to keep up with his brother when they're trying to escape a terrifying storm. One could argue that Doodle's death is prefigured by the opening lines in that he dies just like summer and has blood running from his mouth, which recalls the "bleeding tree" in the very first line.

It could also be said to be the case that the images of death at the beginning of the story foreshadow the close connection with nature that Doodle will forge. Doodle loves nature with a passion and is himself a force of nature in some respects. Whatever his struggles in the everyday world may be, in the natural world he's very much in his element.

But as the opening lines remind us, nature can be a place of death as well as life, all part of the never-ending cycle of life. As with all of us, Doodle is very much a part of that cycle.

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